Sunday, February 4, 2007

Holiness Grows....

I found this at Evangelical-Catholicism. If you have not been to that site -- you MUST vist it!

Growing in holiness with the saints - Aridity

As Pope Benedict XVI said on this past Wednesday's Audience when talking about the saints, "Holiness does not consist in not making mistakes or never sinning. Holiness grows with the capacity for conversion, repentance, willingness to begin again, and above all with the capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness."

And who would have thought that the saints experienced, for instance, spiritual dryness?? How many times do we start doubting God's love when we sometimes don't feel his presence or feel no need to pray to Him. Well, these experiences were not new for many saints. In fact, St. Magdalene de Pazzi suffered five years of this dryness that included physical pain and temptations. St. Joseph of Cupertino suffered over thirteen years of depression. St. John of the Cross suffered intensely as we can read from his Dark Night of the Soul. St. Anthony Claret could not pray if he did not recitate the prayers vocally. And these are just a few saints that experienced this kind of desolation and aridity.

St. John Vianney recommended visiting the Blessed Sacrament during times of aridity. St. Paul of the Cross, tells us, "when you are dry as dust in prayer, don't quit, but keep going. Use little short prayers, especially acts of acceptance of the Most Holy Will of God."

We also learn from St. Therese's own experiences of spiritual dryness when she says in The Story of a Soul,

"I must tell you about my retreat for [religious] profession. Far from experiencing any consolation, complete aridity--desolation, almost-- was my lot. Jesus was asleep in my little boat as usual... I should not rejoice in my aridity, but rather consider it as the result of lack of fervor and fidelity, while the fact that I often fall asleep during meditation or while making my thanksgiving should appall me. Well, I am not appalled; I bear in mind that little children are just as pleasing to their parents asleep as awake, that doctors put their patients to sleep while they perform operations..."
For more problems that the saints had to overcome during their lives anywhere from distractions during prayer to lust, read Saintly Solutions to Life's Common Problems by Fr. Joseph Esper. It contains spiritual exercises, prayers, and recommended readings.

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