Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. I have long been fascinated with the writings of St. John of the Cross. I tackled, or at least attempted to read, "The Dark Night of the Soul" at a relatively young age. It was well beyond my comprehension level at that time. I have pursued it a few more times in my adult life and gain a little more insight each time I read it. The wisdom contained in the writings of St. John of the Cross is phenomenal.
One thing I have reflected upon through the years is how attitude or mood impacts a person's life of prayer. For instance, are we able to pray if we are angry, upset, or irritated? Are we able to pray if we are brokenhearted? Are we able to pray if we are suffering from a serious affliction? Are we able to pray if we are sad, lonely, or depressed? If we are able to pray in any of these circumstances, is the prayer fruitful? What does prayer look like in each of these circumstances?
When I was young I often felt great consoolation during prayer. As I got older I experienced this less and less. This was quite disturbing until I started reading some of the works by people like St. John of the Cross. I was especially drawn to The Dark Night of the Soul as I searched for answers. While I am still a long way from grasping some of these nuggets of wisdom, I am grateful for each step forward in understanding more aspects of prayer. One thing is clear from the writings of the saints. We will not always experience consolation in our prayers.
Whether we experience great consolation in prayer or suffer from a lengthy case of desolation, we continue to pray in faith. May each of us be given the gift of perseverance!