“All that is required for a complete pacification of the spiritual house is the negation through pure faith of all the spiritual faculties and gratifications and appetites. This achieved, the soul will be joined with the Beloved in a union of simplicity and purity and love and likeness. #3. In the night of sense there is yet some light, because the intellect and reason remain and suffer no blindness. But his spiritual night of faith removes everything, both in the intellect and in the senses. The less a soul works with its own abilities, the more securely it proceeds, because its progress in faith is greater.” St. John of the Cross
Those of you who know me will also know that I speak of the “wining and dining” of Jesus in the beginning of our faith experiences. I remember clearly how I thought I was getting “holy” in the beginning of my conversion because Jesus often blessed me with “feelings” of His presence.
There was nothing better. I would go in front of the Blessed Sacrament and I remember thinking there was no place else I would rather be. The peace and consolation I experienced was beyond measure and I often had to drag myself away to get back to my duties. I was in love.
As I advanced in my faith, this began to happen less and less. Although I still spent time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and continued to learn my faith, the “wining and dining” was much less frequent, and as the years passed, I often felt like an addict seeking that high to no avail.
With good spiritual direction, I began to learn how those moments of consolation were a gift and really had nothing to do with me, and that my faith needed to be a commitment, whether I felt His presence or not. That, in fact, not feeling His Presence and still going to daily mass, praying, and spending time with Him was an act of true faith instead of me always wanting His consolation.
I came to also learn that my healing needed to be claimed. That I needed to step out in trust knowing in my heart what He had done for me and never wavering in spite of any spiritual dryness that I was going through or any attacks of doubt that were put before me. I needed to choose to continue to believe without any wining and dining.
Countless numbers of saints experienced this spiritual dryness, from St. Faustina, St. Therese, Padre Pio, St. John of the Cross, and Mother Theresa, to name just a few. Mother Theresa is said to have experienced it for 50 years. Yet, in spite of this emptiness, this dryness, they continued to love and serve the Lord because they “knew." Not a feeling, but a knowing of the love and mercy of God. A letting go of ”self." While I am not a saint (but hope I am one in the making), I am learning to embrace this dryness, although not always easily. I can find myself thrown around in the turmoil battling my emotions, but in the end, I do believe He knows better than I do and I do trust Him with my life.
There are rare times when I still get consolation. Or days when I overwhelmingly feel the presence of Mary. It is a true gift that I thank her for . Thankfully, in spite of myself, whether I feel them or not, you can still find me at daily mass or before the Blessed Sacrament praying, knowing what they have done for me, daily thanking them for my healing and my faith which sustains me in all things in spite of what I feel, and waiting for the heavenly banquet where I know I will be wined and dined for eternity.