Staying The Spiritual Course

The spiritual path has its twists, turns, hills, valleys, bumps and smooth terrain just like any other path. When I am driving, I would like nothing better than smooth roadways, but I know along the way it may become a bit rough (especially here in the state of New Jersey!). I expect this; I should also expect it in my spiritual life.
I have been in a state of blahness spiritually. Some might call it aridity, and there is some of that going on, but is also a bit of depression. Now I am not someone who suffers from clinical depression, but on occasion, what I call situational depression seems to visit. The reasons for this are varied; many times it is centered around an unpleasant anniversary date in my life.
I am always amazed how God sends me His reassuring messages just when I need them. Reading my friend Judy's post, Fake It Til You Make It seemed to be just what I needed to hear, but it went even further when I went to the link for a reflection on aridity written by her brother. What I realized after reading this beautiful reflection was that I was not suffering purely from spiritual aridity, but this minor bout of depression may be causing the aridity.
The title of the reflection is Aridity: A True Blessing in Disguise. While it may not feel like it, when you really stop and think about it, it is a blessing. As the reflection points out, God either permits or directly wills this for the good of the soul. It reminds me of what Mother Angelica says about enjoying our faith versus exercising our faith. There are times in all our lives where God allows us to sit back and enjoy our faith~ prayer comes easily, we feel consolations, we can see and feel God's presence everywhere and in everything. Then there are the times He wants to make us and our faith stronger~ prayer is the last thing we feel like doing and when we do do it, it feels like sawdust in our mouths! God seems to have turned a deaf ear to us and we can't feel or see His presence in anything. This is the time to stay the course. It is also the time for gratitude as the above mentioned reflection speaks about. It is also about getting our heads out of our bellybuttons and thinking, doing, praying for others.
I have been in this desert place before, so it doesn't frighten me. If anything it helps me to see my total dependence on God, because I know He is the only one who can and will see me through it. In the meantime, He sends me wonderful friends and family to support me.
I have always been someone who does not particularly enjoy exercise, but I do it because I know its benefits. Spiritual exercise is no different and its benefits will last for eternity!
So I will stay the course. I will continue to stick to my formula for my spiritual life; for me that is daily Mass, morning and evening prayer, and my weekly hour (or more if I can get there) of Eucharistic Adoration. I will proceed calmly and in faith until such time as God sees fit to bring me out of this dry and dusty land. He will; He always does!

Note: If you haven't read Judy's post or  her brother's reflection, please follow the respective links above. When you get to the page for the reflection, scroll down and you will find it about third from the bottom.

Comments

Colleen said…
Love this post. I too have been in the desert often. You are doing the best thing - just stay the course. Keep praying - keep going to Mass. Also, the Jesus prayer helped me during depression once. Just saying His name - not the whole prayer - over and over throughout the day everyday. You are in my prayers! Hugs and blessings!
kam said…
A beautiful reflection on an age old condition. I hadn't thought about how He wants to make us stronger, and in the times of dryness these just might be when He wants to bring us closer to Him, or to teach us in some way. We never really know, not now. Hang in there! k
Karinann said…
Thanks Colleen and kam for your thoughts on this and your encouraging words.
Blessings to you both!
Mary333 said…
If it's any consolation Karin, you have company in this spiritual desert. I've been hanging out there for months for some reason unknown to me but well known to God. I read Judy's post, too, as well as her brother's and they were very helpful to me. God's timing is good, isn't it? The same posts helped us both during a time we really needed to read them. I will keep you in my prayers, Karin.
Anne said…
In my experience, when I have been depressed, and I struggled to stay the course, I felt that God just pulled me along to daily Mass whether I wanted to go or not. Routines are so important, aren't they? Once you are in the habit of doing something, like going to Mass or Adoration, it carries you through when you can't seem to muster up the devotion to continue.

My prayers for you as you work through this time in your spiritual life. I love your final, hopeful words here: He will;He always does!
Karinann said…
Mary And Anne,
Thank you for your words of encouragement. And yes Anne- routine is quite helpful and necessary at times like this.
Mary- thanks for the company and your prayers. I will keep you in mine and we can pray each other through the desert.
Hugs and blessings to you both!
Mary333 said…
Thanks Karin! Prayers are always appreciated :)
Robert B said…
Very wise counsel in your post, Karinann. We always have plenty of company when we are in that place. I think all faithful Christians in this life experience a good deal of it. That you appreciate God's great gifts while going through these trials is wonderful. I have to remind myself often to get my head out of my navel too. haha.

Speaking of roads and thinking of New Jersey reminded me of the Garden State Parkway. Do they still have all those toll gates? Life is a lot like the Garden State Parkway sometimes. ;)
Karinann said…
Thanks Robert. Life like the GSP- never thought of it that way but a good analogy. The tolls still exist but not as many as there once was.EZPass has helped too.