Painful to pray


#21

Thinking of Mary…she experienced the announciation, and there was the occurence when Jesus was twelve and had a sense of His destiny and of His heavenly Father…but note that Mary pondered these things in her heart. Were there years when even she didn’t have a lot of actual experience of the extraordinary truths of her Son and her life…she pondered things in her heart. She ended up watching His blood drain from His brutalized body, deserted by His closest companions except for John and some of the women…a lot of pain and questions possible there…I wonder if we have something to learn in our dark nights from this Woman of faith?


#22

Thanks Trishie, I have also heard that the Blessed Mother is a good example of living in “dark” faith—she had so many things to “ponder” because, frankly, I suppose she had unanswered questions about how her Son would fulfill His destiny as Messiah. And then when she saw him die so brutally…that must have been the apex of her dark night.


#23

“Dark Night of the Soul”, Book I: Chapter 13
4. From this there arises another and a second benefit, which is that the soul habitually has remembrance of God, with fear and dread of backsliding upon the spiritual road, as has been said. This is a great benefit, and not one of the least that results from this aridity and purgation of the desire, for ** the soul is purified and cleansed of the imperfections that were clinging to it because of the desires and affections, which of their own accord deaden and darken the soul. **

  1. There is another very great benefit for the soul in this night, which is that it practices several virtues together, as, for example, patience and longsuffering, which are often called upon in these times of emptiness and aridity, when the soul endures and perseveres in its spiritual exercises without consolation and without pleasure. It practices the charity of God since it is not now moved by the pleasure of attraction and sweetness which it finds in its work, but only by God. It likewise practices here the virue of fortitude, because, in these difficulties and inspidities which it finds in its work, it brings strength out of weakness and thus becomes strong. All the virtues, in short–the theological and also the cardinal and moral–both in body and in spirit, are practised by the soul in these times of aridity.

  2. And that in this night the soul obtains these four benefits which we have here described ** (namely, delight of peace, habitual remembrance and thought of God, cleanness and purity of soul and the practice of the virtues which we have just described), ** David tells us, having experienced it himself when he was in this night, in these words: ‘My soul refused consolations, I had remembrance of God, I found consolation and was exercised and my spirit failed.’ And he then says: ‘And I meditated by night with my heart and was exercised, and I swept and purified my spirit’–that is to say, from all the affections.

  3. With respect to the imperfections of the other three spiritual sins which we have described above, which are wrath, envy, and sloth, the soul is ** purged hereof likewise in this aridity of the desire and acquires the virtues opposed to them; for, softened and humbled by these aridities and hardships and other temptations and trials wherein God exercises it during this night, it becomes meek with respect to God, and to itself, and likewise with respect to its neighbor.** So that it is *no longer disturbed and angry with itself because of its own faults, nor with its neighbor because of his, *neither is it displeased with God, nor does it utter unseemly complaints because He does not quickly make it holy.

  4. Then, as to envy, the soul has chairty toward others in this respect also; for, if it has any envy, this is no longer a vice as it was before, when it was grieved because others were preferred to it and given greater advantage. Its grief now comes from seeing how great is its own misery, and its envy (if it has any) is a **virtuous envy, since it desires to imitate others, which is great virtue. **

  5. Neither are the sloth and the irksomeness which it now experiences concerning spiritual things vicious as they were before. For in the past these sins proceeded from the spiritual pleasures whith the soul sometimes experienced and sought after when it found them not. But this new weariness proceeds not from this insufficiency of pleasure **because God has taken from the soul pleasure in all things in this purgation of the desire. **

  6. Besides these benefits which have been mentioned, the soul attains innumerable others by means of this arid contemplation. For often,in the midst of these times of aridity and hardship, * God communicates to the soul, when it is least expecting it, the purest spiritual sweetness and love, together with a spiritual knowledge which is sometimes very delicate, each manifestation of which is of greater benefit and wroth than those which the soul enjoyed aforetime;* although in its beginnings the soul thinks that this is not so, for the spiritual influence now granted to it is very delicate and cannot be perceived by sense.

  7. Finally, inasmuch as **the soul is now purged from the affections and desires of sense, it obtains liberty of spirit, whereby in ever greater degree it gains the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit. Here, too, it is wondrously delivered from the hands of its three enemies–devil, world and flesh; for, its pleasure and delight of sense being quenched with respect to all things, neither the devil nor the world nor sensuality has any arms or any strength wherewith to make war upon the spirit. **

  • Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

#24
  1. These times of aridity, then, cause the soul to journey in all purity in the love of God, since it is no longer influenced in its actions by the pleasure and sweetness of the actions themselves, as perchance it was when it expeirneced sweetness, but only by a desire to please God. It becomes neither presumptuous nor self-satisfied, as perchance it was wont to become in the time of its prosperity, but fearful and timid with regard to itself, finding it itself no satisfaction whatsoever; and herein consists that holy fear which perserves and increases the virtues. This aridity, too, quenches natural energy and concupiscience (the inclination to sin), as has also been said. Save for the pleasure, indeed, which at certain times God Himself infuses into it, **it is a wonder if it finds pleasure and consolation of sense, through its own diligence, in any spiritual exercise or action, as has already been said. **

  2. ** There grows within souls that experience this arid night concern for God and yearnings to serve Him, for in proportion as the breasts of sensuality, wherewith it sustained and nourished the desires that it pursued, are drying up, there remainds nothing in that aridity and detachment save the yearning to serve God, which is a thing very pleasing to God. For, as David says, an afflicted spirit is a sacrifice to God. **

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Ecclesiasticus 34: 9-10: "He that has not been tempted, what does he know? And he that has not been proved, what are the things that he recognizes?’

Hope this provides some words of comfort :slight_smile: I may be going through this myself, or it may just be I am a sinful person, so I was reading Dark Night of the Soul and though I should share with you words that strengthen me to persevere even though I feel like a failure as a follower of Christ at times.


#25

The First Luminous Mystery
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

  1. John is baptizing in the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance.
  2. “I am the voice of one crying in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.”
  3. “One mightier than I is coming after me.”
  4. “I have baptized you with water, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
  5. Seeing Jesus, John exclaims: “Behold the Lamb of God.”
  6. After Jesus’ baptism a voice from Heaven: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
  7. The Spirit descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove.
  8. In this heavenly manifestation is instituted the sacrament of baptism.
  9. The divine Trinity is manifested: the voice of the Father is heard as the Spirit descends upon the Son.
  10. **Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert **for 40 days.
    Spiritual Fruit: Gratitude for the gift of Faith

Even Jesus was not spared the **desert **. God thought that even Jesus needed the **desert **before he began his ministry.

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#26

You might also want to check out this thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=168288

So many people have posted such very beautiful prayers in that thread. Maybe you’ll find something there to re-kindle the fire.

God bless.


#27

On St. Therese of Liseux: "Her romantic ideas of convent life and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. Her father suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. When he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle, he was taken to an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Therese learned of the humiliation of the father she adored and admired and of the gossip and pity of their so-called friends. As a cloistered nun she couldn’t even visit her father.
This began a horrible time of suffering when she experienced such dryness in prayer that she stated “Jesus isn’t doing much to keep the conversation going."

This quote though is also attributed to her: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy; in a word, something noble, supernatural, which enlarges my soul and unites it to God… I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers… I do as a child who has not learned to read, I just tell our Lord all that I want and He understands.”

But later in her life she was filled with great joy. Even in her suffering was joy, "On her death-bed, she is reported to have said, “I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more, because all suffering is sweet to me

*Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#28

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