• Sarah Raad


“Absence makes the heart grow fonder…”

The Holy Spirit (Alfonso Garcia)

I was speaking with a dear friend some time ago and she told me that she was experiencing a period of terrible spiritual dryness, and I have been reflecting on that feeling over the last few weeks since we spoke of it.

You see, spiritual dryness is a feeling of disassociation or disconnection from God. It is a feeling that we are unloved by God or that God is uninterested in us. As such, spiritual dryness is the product of our fallen human nature and it is a terribly dreadful consequence of sin.

Because it is a consequence of sin, spiritual dryness causes terrible suffering and discomfort because it is an unnatural state to find oneself in. After all, God created us out of LOVE for us – He had no NEED of us – He was simply FOND of us. And so, we – being created in the image and likeness of God – were designed to be CLOSER to God, not further away from Him… This is why, when we cannot feel His presence in our lives, we feel so terrible – because we were made to be close to Him…

And this feeling of spiritual dryness is not just the domain of just poor weak souls like mine! Spiritual dryness is a condition that has been experienced by countless saints…

Saint Therese of Lisieux experienced terrible spiritual dryness and great temptation on the night before she took her final vows. Saint Damien of Molokai complained of experiencing spiritual dryness in the weeks before his death from leprosy – the disease he had caught from the people he had ministered to in the years before he died. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta – who greeted the entire world with such a beautiful smile – spent whole years of her life feeling terribly alone and isolated from God, feeling that God did not love her at all and her work was a waste of effort. Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary of experiencing periods of spiritual dryness that were so extreme that she doubted not only her own vocation, but her life’s-work to promote the Divine Mercy of God.

And though I am no great saint, following the death of my child before he was even born, I experienced a period of spiritual dryness that stretched out through almost six long years. During that time, my isolation from God felt so extreme and my despair was so terrible that my anger at God became so intense as to spill over into all facets of my life. And it changed me… It changed my overall demeanour, which during that time became not only angry, but irritated, frustrated and utterly inconsolable.

It was a terrible, dreadful and dark time in my life and yet, that darkness served such great purpose in my life in the greater scheme of things.

You see, there is an old adage that I think of now when I reflect on periods of spiritual dryness and it goes like this… “Absence makes the heart grow fonder…”

And I have been reflecting on this cliché for some time now…

You see, after my conversion – through Grace and no merit of my own – when the GOOD SHEPHERD came and found worthless little me – His lost sheep – I felt His presence again in my soul.

And from that instant, I realised that the anger and the bitterness inside me was a frightened longing for Him and only Him…

How much my soul longs for Him…

For He brought with Him Faith and Hope and Charity (which is great love), and these virtues that He infused into my soul, are magnificent…

And now, I can understand why the little visionaries of Fatima – Saint Jacinta and Saint Francesco, with their older cousin Blessed Lucia – prayed so fervently for sinners offering many sacrifices to save poor souls from damnation…

You see, I too pity those poor lost souls of the damned – for I have felt in this temporal world some small fragment of the utter torment it would be to spend an eternity without being able to feel the presence of my Lord and God inside my soul.

What utter horror and torment that would be!

And so it is with true devotion I now believe that “absence makes the heart grow fonder…”

How lucky I was to feel that absence then – for how much fonder has grown my heart!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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