Spiritual Aridity

St. John Berchmans often experienced great consolation in prayer, but, from time to time, also great aridity. In such cases, he never lost his courage or cheerfulness.

St. John Berchmans, when asked what remedies he made use of against aridity, replied, “I pray, I take care to be occupied, and I have patience.”

St. Philip Neri considered it an excellent remedy in such case to imagine ourselves beggars, as it were, in the presence of God and the Saints, and, as such, to go now to one, now to another, to ask spiritual alms, with that feeling and earnestness which the destitute usually exhibit. He advised, too, that this should be done even corporally at times, by visiting the churches of different Saints, to ask some favor from each.

St. Francis de Sales was never angry with himself on account of the desolations, aridities, or interior abandonment which he endured. He told St. Jane Frances de Chantal that when he was at prayer, he was not in the habit of reflecting as to whether he was in consolation or desolation, but if the Lord gave him any good sentiments, he received them with profound reverence and simplicity; and if He gave none, he did not reflect upon it, but remained still before God, with great confidence, like a loving little child.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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