Desolated Yet Consoled

Finding God in the midst of the curveballs in life

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Ave Maria readers who follow Emmaus and the Sunday reflections that I write have surely noticed that there wasn’t any activity this whole first quarter of 2022, and for a reason that may well need a lot of explanation.

My 2021 ended with a spiritual drought. I was thirsty, parched even. This dryness came with its fair share of regularly stumbling to sins that have crippled my ability to find God in the midst of my everyday. No matter the daily prayers that I would do as faithfully as possible, I feel as though none of my words, thoughts, or payers are reaching God, and I feel as if I’m closed of to Him, unable to hear His voice or read the signs of His presence in my day to day.

2022 is honestly no better.

This sense of dryness, of thirst for God in everything carried on throughout the first quarter of this year. As this quarter is wrapping up, I cannot say that I am out of the woods.

What is this dryness that seems to be permeating across every aspect of my life?

St. Ignatius calls it desolation. Perhaps this season of Lent is, in fact, a timely season for me to make the most of this desolation to really reflect, to see if this desolation is actually a God-send, like Christ in his time in the desert. After all, desolation is not always a bad thing. Numerous saints and masters of spirituality go through the same struggles as they seek to ascend in the spiritual life. St. Theresa of Calcutta herself dealt with it for over 30 years!

There’s so much noise around and inside me, and all of seems to be creating a huge divide, as if a chasm, between me and God. He seems so far-off, unreachable, even through a whisper. It’s not just His voice that feels so distance. His very presence seems to be out of reach, absent, even.

Questions would pop in my head. Why me? Why allow such dryness in my life? What is the purpose behind all this? What am I to gain from all of this? What does God want of me in this time of desolation? What does God want me to learn, to embrace, to accept, and to surrender, as I go through my desert experience once more?

I may or may not get the answers to all of these questions. God may answer some, let the others naturally unfold, or not answer them at all, as maybe part of His Divine plan.

But what do we do in this time of desolation? In this dark night of the soul, as St. John of the Cross puts it?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say, “Don’t let all that good suffering go to waste!”

To continually pray seems to be the only recourse. To beg, and to keep on begging God, incessantly!

Fr. Robert Mcteigue, a Jesuit, has this to say:

Our spiritual dryness, physical discomfort and emotional pain are distorted by the enemy, in order to tell us lies about ourselves and about God.

It may seem that the lights are out in our spiritual lives, and that there seems to only be darkness pervading all throughout.

But I guess God would not leave me in this state without grace that is sufficient for me to withstand the trials that come with this moment of desolation. And it is this grace that becomes my consolation, because it is in these moments when I have to let God be God in my life.

It is in these moments when I have to put greater effort to direct myself, and everything about me, even the circumstances that surround me, towards Him who will surely come to my aid, even sending His angels in haste to console me at the right time.

As I write all of this down and share about it, I cannot say that I am out already out of the woods, and so I can only, humbly, ask for prayers, that God may finally send the much needed refreshment.

In the midst of my desert moment, I pray that God sends the rain to water the parched land that is my soul.

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