How to break the drought of spiritual tepidity?
#1
Ever since my Confirmation I have never really recovered the zeal I had during my conversion. It was quite disappointing because I was expecting Confirmation to take me to this whole new level in my spiritual life but instead I became weaker than ever in faith and morals. I've been thinking about how I should invest more in daily meditation and become more fluent in the sacrament of confession. I used to pray the rosary daily, but I don't think that ever did much for me. One thing is I've been going through a professional transition and have been distracted by worldly career things for a while. I see no tokens or reminders of my Catholic faith in the secular professional world. It's a spiritual desert out there in the office and on the job market trying to find the next contract.

I'm looking for helpful suggestions, especially with respect to spiritual reading.

Cheers!  :grin:
Reply
#2
Read St John of the Cross Dark Night and weep! God bless you and keep you.
Reply
#3
Or for something a bit different read the hound of heaven by the English poet Francis Thompson and then read about his life.
Reply
#4
I would actually have to disagree about reading Dark Night. You need to provide some more details than you have (although of course this is a public forum, so I understand if you're hesitant to do so!  :LOL: ), but from what it sounds like, your tepidity is not caused by the Dark Night otherwise you would be praying more and not less.

Confirmation simply doesn't do what you were hoping it to do. Even if grace is present in a soul, there is a difference between the presence of grace and how well that grace can "express" itself through virtue. Grace is a static, entitative quality (as they say), which means it's just "there"; it doesn't affect virtue in that immediate way that you're hoping it to. But don't worry! That doesn't mean Confirmation "didn't work." It just means it works differently than you thought it does.

For beginners in the spiritual life, there are really only three things you need to do:

1) Receive Sacraments regularly (this applies to all), i.e. Eucharist and Confession, making sure to make each reception more and more intense. It isn't a physical or psychological intensity ("white knuckling it" so to speak or gritting your teeth) but an increasing purity of intention by proper preparation before Communion/Confession, as much focus as you can during reception (actively renew the proper intention to glorify God and sanctify your soul immediately before Communion; or in Confession, renew your perfect contrition as you make your act), and proper thanksgiving/penance afterwards. Don't shirk these, for as St. Teresa of Avila said, the hour after Communion is the best for asking graces from God. Penance is vital too because it purifies the soul and makes it more ready to receive Communion.

2) Regular and increasing mental prayer, daily and on those topics that are especially pertinent to you as a beginner. These traditionally are those topics that will excite you to exercising virtue, such as thoughts of death, judgment, heaven, hell, sin, etc. If those don't really click though, that's fine, but it's also better to focus on more concrete topics (the life of Our Lord, for example) rather than abstract ones (the Trinity, grace, different mechanisms of the spiritual life, etc.). Eventually you want to reach affective prayer, which will come naturally. This can happen quickly if you dedicate yourself seriously. Amount of time spent isn't as important as spending it well, so don't think you need to pray long. St. Thomas said we should pray only as long as we experience fervor in prayer and then should stop. Of course, during tepidity, you don't experience fervor, so you have to make it an act of the will and a practice in perseverance and patience. Offer up the suffering or dullness or boredom of "sitting there" for the purification of your soul, penance for sins, intentions of the Sacred Heart, etc.

3) Root out any habitual mortal sins and then habitual deliberate venial sins, which kill grace and cooperation with God. Use the Examen of Conscience each day, keep track of progress here. Make that Examen your battle plan, and also do not skip the Thanksgiving at the beginning because that is critical. Gratitude, St. Thomas says and modern psychology also proves (study after study, I can show you), humbles the soul and opens it up to receive further graces from God and is important on a natural level because it is closely linked to natural happiness and virtue.

The Dark Night applies only when St. John's three conditions for discerning the entrance into passive, contemplative prayer are noticed in your life, but from what you say (e.g. you gave up the Rosary because you don't think it does much; distracted by worldly things; you see no tokens or reminders of your faith in your professional work), I don't think those conditions are present although you'd have to be more specific.

Hope this helps! God bless!
Reply
#5
The reason I suggest Dark Night is not so much to follow it, but just because it provides an insight into the existence of the various stages, distractions and stagnant interludes which we are all prone to. I find that for me, just knowing that these interludes exist and serve a purpose, is a great comfort, like knowing that night gives way to day.
Reply
#6
(07-15-2015, 06:21 PM)majellan Wrote: The reason I suggest Dark Night is not so much to follow it, but just because it provides an insight into the existence of the various stages, distractions and stagnant interludes which we are all prone to. I find that for me, just knowing that these interludes exist and serve a purpose, is a great comfort, like knowing that night gives way to day.
One excellent book that summarizes a lot of that material and in even greater depth and breadth than St. John of the Cross went into in his Dark Night is Dom Vitalis Lehodey's The Ways of Mental Prayer.  :)
Reply
#7
Many times when God wants to lead us to greater holiness he will take away the consolations that we previously had. I recommend that you try to keep up your life of prayer and unity with the Holy Spirit. 
Reply
#8
(07-15-2015, 07:44 AM)Pacman Wrote: Ever since my Confirmation I have never really recovered the zeal I had during my conversion. It was quite disappointing because I was expecting Confirmation to take me to this whole new level in my spiritual life but instead I became weaker than ever in faith and morals. I've been thinking about how I should invest more in daily meditation and become more fluent in the sacrament of confession. I used to pray the rosary daily, but I don't think that ever did much for me. One thing is I've been going through a professional transition and have been distracted by worldly career things for a while. I see no tokens or reminders of my Catholic faith in the secular professional world. It's a spiritual desert out there in the office and on the job market trying to find the next contract.

I'm looking for helpful suggestions, especially with respect to spiritual reading.

Cheers!  :grin:

I would really recommend mental prayer... And the books "Soul of the Apostolate" about how to have a strong interior life among activity in the world, and "Ways of Mental Prayer" about how to do mental prayer
Reply
#9
I highly recommend the books of the late Father Thomas Green S.J., as he starts at the beginning and goes through the "hows" and "whys" of prayer, especially in periods of dryness. He breaks down St. John of the Cross for moderns in a very understandable way.

https://www.avemariapress.com/author/276...-Green-SJ/

What's interesting is according to Father Green, dryness is the norm in one's spiritual life. That might be debatable but it's interesting nonetheless.
Reply
#10
(07-16-2015, 12:54 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I highly recommend the books of the late Father Thomas Green S.J., as he starts at the beginning and goes through the "hows" and "whys" of prayer, especially in periods of dryness. He breaks down St. John of the Cross for moderns in a very understandable way.

https://www.avemariapress.com/author/276...-Green-SJ/

What's interesting is according to Father Green, dryness is the norm in one's spiritual life. That might be debatable but it's interesting nonetheless.

I think it makes sense why because much of the Purgative Way is dryness and mostly people are there. There may be exceptions maybe for souls who need extra encouragement or help. Then even in illuminative way there are dark nights etc - even more painful ones, progressively. The book Threw Ages of the Interior Life is really helpful about this... Just to recommend even more books  :LOL:
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)