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Dryness is prayer is similar to waiting next to Jesus’ tomb

Trzy kobiety spotykają anioła u grobu zmartwychwstałego Jezusa

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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/13/24

If we are experiencing dryness in prayer, we should picture ourselves next to Jesus' tomb, patiently waiting for Jesus to rise from the dead.

Many of us are familiar with dryness in prayer. Dryness can simply be defined as a time in prayer where we don’t feel anything when we pray.

Prayer during these periods can seem not only boring, but isolating. We feel alone and abandoned, as if God were not there with us.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes this type of prayer, using various biblical images to illustrate it:

Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit.”

CCC 2731

This experience of prayer can be difficult to endure and we are more likely to give-up praying, not willing to endure it.

Yet, dryness is typically allowed by God to test us and our faith.

Are we willing to stay faithful to God even when our prayer appears dry and fruitless?

In this way we can imagine ourselves sitting next to Jesus’ tomb, not sure if Jesus will rise again, but waiting patiently in faith. Trusting in God’s words and promises.

The Catechism explains that, “If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.”

Sometimes what we need is a converted heart in order to persevere in prayer.

St. Francis de Sales, a spiritual master of the 16th century, wrote an invaluable guide to personal prayer in his Introduction to the Devout Life, where he gave his own advice on what to do during dry periods of prayer:

Should it happen sometimes, my child, that you have no taste for or consolation in your meditation, I entreat you not to be troubled, but seek relief in vocal prayer, bemoan yourself to our Lord, confess your unworthiness, implore His Aid, kiss His Image, if it be beside you, and say in the words of Jacob, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me”; or with the Canaanitish woman, “Yes, Lord, I am as a dog before Thee, but the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”

The key is to not give-up, but to trust in God and try to grow in faith during this experience.

CCC PrayerEasterPrayer
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