At Confession recently, I shared with the priest that I was experiencing a spiritual dry spell. I wasn’t feeling it – didn’t feel excited about my faith, didn’t feel like praying, and didn’t feel God’s Presence as readily or often as in times past. I was aware that even the greatest of saints had dry spells and dark nights of the soul. Far from sainthood myself (I used to say, “I’m no saint,” but God calls everyone to be saints, and I don’t want to argue with Him about that), I was very troubled over my tepid relationship with Christ. I was afraid that my considerably less-than- mustard seed faith was in danger of shriveling up and dying, and even feeling a little guilty because I had lost my sense of zeal in prayer and worship.
Thank goodness Our Heavenly Father is so much more than how we feel about Him! Yet, in His All-Knowing, Constant, Eternal and Perfect Presence, God humbles Himself to be human like us through His Son, Jesus, experiencing all of what we feel, even during those times we aren’t particularly feeling Him. We may be poor in spirit, but the Holy Spirit is always active, alive and accessible. God is not “out there”, separate from us. He is IN us. So while feelings are neither good nor bad, when we get stuck in emotions like apathy or anxiety, distraction or discouragement, worry or woe – we may end up spending a little too much time there. We limit our relationship with God by interpreting it through how we are feeling at a particular time, rather than acknowledging those feelings and giving them all back to Him. He can handle them. He just wants us to be with Him, that’s all. So it’s really not about how we feel. It’s about trying our best and when we fall short, He loves us just the same, or more.
The priest who heard my Confession reminded me that God knows our intentions and the depths of our hearts. He hears us when we pray with fervor, and He hears what our souls long for when we can’t express ourselves as we’d like. “It is a great art to know how to converse with Jesus, and to know how to keep Jesus is great wisdom. Be humble and patient and Jesus will be with thee. Be devout and quiet and Jesus will stay thee.” *
Copyright 2012 D. Smith
My Imitation of Christ, Brooklyn: Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1954. 129.