Prayer Persevere in Dryness
by Father Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA
Jesus is our Lord and our God!
God knows all things. He has all things. Everything that exists whether
Visible or Invisible, He Created. He is the
Giver of all that is Good because He is the
Source of all Good. He is our
When we want something, we Pray to God. And if it is
His Will, He will give it to us. And since
God has everything, He doesnt need to Pray and ask
someone greater than Him because there is no one greater than Him.
If there is, then He would not be God.
Yet, in the Passage today from the Gospel, Jesus Prayed! In
these days He went out to the hills to Pray; and all night He continued in Prayer to God.
Not only did He Pray, but He spent the Entire Night in
Prayer with the Father. This, He
often did, spending the Night in Prayer.
We might ponder since Jesus is God, why does
He Pray? Why does He spent the Whole Night in Prayer if
Hes God? Was He just Pretending
to be in Prayer, but not really Praying, that
He wants us to simply follow His
Example in Praying?
The Divine Person/Personality of Christ bridges the Infinite Gap between His Human and Divine Natures
Divine Nature of Christ
(Divine Intellect and Will)
Brick Wall between the Two Natures
(Absolutely no mingling of Natures)
Human Nature of Christ
(Human Intellect and Will)
Jesus is both True God. And He
is also True Man. He is One (1) Divine
Person with Two (2) Natures: Human Nature and Divine Nature.
Since He has Two (2) Natures, He
also has Two Wills: Human Will and
Divine Will. Even though, He is Omnipotent or All Powerful by virtue of
His Divine Will, His Human Will was
not All Powerful. Thats why He Prayed. Thats why He spent the
Whole Night in Prayer before making a very Important Decision in choosing
His Apostles. So, He was really Praying!
He was not Pretending to be in
Prayer. (cf. The Navarre Bible - St. Luke)
When we Pray, what we do is make our Will known to
God. So, Christ, Who is like
us in all things but Sin, also had to Pray in a Human Way.
Saint Ambrose reflected on Jesus at Prayer. He said,
The Lord Prays not to ask things for Himself, but to intercede on our behalf; for although the Father has put
everything into the Hands of the Son, still the Son, in order to behave in accordance with His Condition as Man, considers it appropriate
to implore the Father for our sake". As Saint John in his Letter says, We have an Advocate
with the Father. Jesus is our Advocate. Yes, we can
say He Prays and Intercedes for us before the Father. At the same
time, He receives our Prayers too and answers our
Prayers according to His Will. (cf. Divine Intimacy, vol. II)
After we have begun a Life of Prayer, we come to realize that just like in everything else, there
are Trials in Prayer. We search for
God in Prayer, but Faith is not yet Vision. And
that, we Suffer because we cannot find God. We cannot be United to
Him as we would like.
At times, it seems the Lord is hiding His Face. It seems the
Lord is Abandoning us. It seems that we are all Alone and Incapable
of a Good Thought or a Good Impulse or a Good Affection. Is He really there? Yes,
God is always there hearing our Prayers. He is
waiting for proof of its Fidelity.
Saint Paul said, The Spirit helps us in our Weakness, for we do not know how to Pray as we ought"
(Romans 8:26). Prayer is a Gift of God.
Only God can make us Capable of Praying as we should. And we should be Conscious
of our Weakness and our Inability to
Pray. When the Holy Spirit assists us by His Grace,
Prayer then becomes Easy and Spontaneous, but when He decides
to 'Hold' His Grace, we experience our Poverty. We experience our
Insufficiency. We experience our Coldness of
Mind and Heart.
To Engage in Prayer means to deal with these Problems, but
yet these Problems or these Spiritual Sufferings have a Purpose. The
Purpose is to Purify us from Immaturity in our Prayer and our
Faith to be more Mature. We learn, then, to turn to Prayer with greater
Purity of Intention, not to find Pleasure or Spiritual
Consolation, but to Please God and to Prove our
Allegiance to Him.
We need to give ourselves to Prayer, not only in Moments of Joyful
and Sensible Devotion, but also in Times of Dryness, in Times
of Discomfort, or in times that we just dont Feel like
Praying. And all this, not just for a Certain Period, but at All Times,
every day, all our life.
Powerlessness and Dryness can cause us to think that it is a Waste
of Time to devote ourselves to Prayer and that we would do better to work. We can easily think this way
especially when we have many obligations to do. We can easily think that it is 'Useless' to Persevere in
Prayer. This experience was felt by Saint Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church in
Prayer. This was the Greatest Temptation she had that it nearly
brought-about her Ruin.
The Devil wants all of us not to Pray. Because
when we dont Pray, we dont Commune with God. And
he likes that. But when we Pray, we Commune with
God; and he hates that. He
hates all People who Pray.
So no matter how much Difficulty we may have in Prayer, the
important thing is not to give up, but to Persevere. And I conclude with the Words of
Julian of Norwich who writes Revelations of Divine Love, Pray with your Whole Being even
though you think it has no savor for you. For such Prayer is very profitable even though you feel nothing, though you see nothing, even
though it seems impossible to you. It is in Dryness and Barrenness, in Sickness and Feebleness that your Prayer is Most Pleasing to Me,
even though you think that it has little savor for you.
Prayer of Saint Padre Pio
Lord Jesus, sometimes, when I am in the State of Spiritual Aridity, I don't even feel like
Praying, and I certainly do not feel Your Presence. I wonder how You, the Bread of Life, could ever Love me, a Miserable Sinner.
Help me to Accept my Weak Humanity, and to bow always Humbly before You and Accept the "Medicine" of Your Holy Spirit
Who longs to Heal my Heart and Soul.
Padre Pio was Graced by God with the Stigmata. His Shield depicts the Pelican,
a Symbol of Christ, who strikes her own breast to draw blood in order to feed her young chicks.