There are times that we seek God, that we desperately need connection to the Spirit, but we cannot. We go to the texts we have been to, we participate in the exercises we have found to be meaningful, we pray the significant prayers of our life, but nothing. We obtain nothing.
If we have some experience, we will know that the Spirit is not under the control of our whims and desires. We are not a king that commands the Spirit’s presence and he appears. And so if the Spirit doesn’t appear, we are not concerned. At first.
But as our need grows deeper and the time goes longer and we have not received the gentle touch of his presence, the comforting voice, we might wonder if the Spirit has left us. Perhaps the Divine has abandoned us, even when we needed him most. Perhaps we think the reality of our experiences never happened.
This is a common experience of everyone who has pursued the divine. It is known as the dark night of the soul, when the soul feels that she is abandoned by the Spirit. But what can we do?
First, we must remember our times and experiences with the Spirit. We need to write down what we have experienced with the Spirit, so we can recall the reality of the Divine. There are times when we would have failed to survive without the intervention of the Divine—write that down. There were times when we felt the reality of the Spirit so powerfully—write that down. We need to remember this, not to re-experience them, but so we don’t forget.
Second, we need to not fret. This is almost certainly temporary, and we will reconnect with the Spirit in the ways we have experienced him before. Let us rest in this knowledge. If the spiritual exercises are fruitless, take a break from them. You will know when it is time to take them up again. Perhaps use this as an opportunity to take up other exercises described in this blog.