Posted by: wordofthevine | April 3, 2013

Finding God in Easter Grace!

bed hair

Have you ever been in a spiritual state where you know that you must pray, and  that you should pray but you don’t feel like praying? The passion seems to be missing and the sweetness has dried up. In this spiritual climate it is more difficult to feel the Easter miracle as active in your own life. During these times, we may be tempted to cut prayer short or even to skip it all together. What are we to do in this time period if we find ourselves at this place? At the onset, our task to to show up for prayer and remain…

It seems that this question comes into spiritual direction sessions with many people that visit with me about their spiritual lives , and this question hits me personally. I just returned from an intensive language immersion in Guadalajara, MX and many people have greeted me, “Welcome back! It must have been such a retreat and a spiritually moving experience.” Actually for me, with the sheer exhaustion of all the intensive intellectual work of learning a new language, during the entire excursion, I was in a deep spiritual funk, or extreme dryness. I found it almost impossible to pray but I did pray.

Many spiritual writers warn us to guard the silence of our hearts and to commit our personal interior energies to projects with discernment to avoid spiritual funks. Most also say that the spiritual life has an ebb and flow, desolations and consolations. Certain virtues only grow in harsh conditions of soul, conditions of soul that encourage our growth and maturation in our relationship with God. Our challenge is to love God faithfully without  any bells and whistles.I’m wondering as we grow, consolations many times become more gentle and even subtle and often we find that God has been guiding our choices even when it has not been obvious to us.

I like this quote from Father John McCloskey in his review on the book, On the Meaning of Sex by J. Budziszewski: Charity is an attitude that exults in the sheer existence of the other person (or of God). Moreover, because charity is not a feeling but an activity of the will, it is something that one decides to do, and it can be promised. To be sure, such love costs me something, makes me spend myself, even makes me want to spend myself…In its perfection, the person whom I love becomes another self to me. While I’m not suggesting that we limit God and make Him simply another self to us, what I am saying brings a new twist to experiencing the Easter mystery in the ordinary confines of our human existence. 

Many times we encounter the living Jesus in the midst of our human experiences with the ups and downs and flat phases, but like Mary Magdalene, we don’t recognize Him. We also don’t acknowledge and even cherish our choices for God that we make by an action of our wills. When we remain in prayer when everything in us wants to quit because nothing seems to be happening, this is beautiful and pleasing prayer, and an experience of acting in Resurrection grace! We choose Him without bells and whistles. This reminds me of what’s necessary in marriage, after the honeymoon, I choose you, My Spouse, even when you wake up with bed head, or when you seem occupied with your work… Ask yourself today: How can I find the Easter mystery alive in the ups and downs of this day? ~Mary

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