A Benefit of Aridity

Dryness Leads To Humility

One of the most painful lessons that Dryness teaches is the spirit of Humility. Our total helplessness in the face of our inability to pray can almost annihilate our pride. We may rebel against this feeling of inadequacy, but if we accept it we can make a giant stride towards a spirit of Humility. The humility that is the fruit of dryness is not self-imposed, so the soul is guarded against a false humility which says it can do nothing of itself but does not really believe it. Neither is this humility the fruit of persecution or misunderstanding. It is, therefore, a safeguard against the resentment that often accompanies the clashes of personality traits in our relationship with others. It is a crushing blow to our pride to realize we must wait upon the Lord to pray well or to pray at all. We often read and reread Jesus’ statement that without Him we can do nothing but this hardly reaches an experimental stage in our lives. When we kneel before Him helpless, dry and in a state of confusion, we begin to “feel” our finite condition. A reality of life becomes an experience for us – it becomes a startling fact that without Him we can do nothing – not even pray. It is good to have an intellectual awareness of our dependence upon God – to understand how great He is and how very small we are in His sight. But when our very bones feel the crushing weight of His Holiness upon us and we are conscious of our sinner condition, we pass on from knowing about God to knowing God, for the former is knowledge and the latter, experience. Not only does the soul possess a new sense of its dependence upon God, but its self-knowledge is increased to an alarming degree. Every fault is magnified and the soul sees weaknesses within it that never before came to the surface. This self-knowledge is the very root of Humility and when the soul sees itself as it really is and then gazes at the Infinite God who loves it, the reality of the vast difference between them engenders Humility, provided this knowledge is accepted with a deep sense of gratitude. This gratitude is not only for the light given but for the gratuitous love bestowed upon the lowly soul by the Infinite God. The reality of God’s personal love for a poor weak human being sends the soul into transports of joy, even though the feeling of dryness fills it with consternation and its weaknesses overwhelm it. In its very depths there begins a quiet acceptance of itself and of God and a determined effort evolves that drives the soul on to a deeper love in a spirit of sacrifice. The soul slowly understands what humility of heart means. It does not feel crushed or broken but is overwhelmed by a ‘sense’ of its sinner condition, of its capacity for evil, and the thin thread that separates it from God whose “power is at its best in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Dryness makes us seek God for Himself. strengthens our Faith, Hope and Love. purifies our soul so we can reach for God. creates a vacuum only God can fill, increases our thirst for God, increases our desire for holiness, helps us practise the Beatitudes, gives us an appreciation of suffering and leads us to pray without ceasing. Dryness leads us gently from vocal prayer, where we learn to speak to God; to meditation, where we think of God; to contemplation, where our heart merely gazes upon Him with a love too deep for words.