St. Francis de Sales’ advice for coping with spiritual dryness

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If you are experiencing spiritual dryness in prayer, read St. Francis de Sales’ advice on how to endure it.

There are often times in our lives when we sit down to pray and feel nothing. We don’t experience any joy or peace, and we struggle to pray.

We may even be tempted to give up on prayer.

St. Francis de Sales recognizes this situation and wrote a letter to St. Jane Frances de Chantal, who was experiencing such spiritual dryness.

The highest point of holy religion is to be content with bare, dry acts performed solely by the superior will, just as it would be the highest degree of abstinence to be content to eat, if not with positive disgust, at all events without any taste or relish.

You have clearly explained your trial and there is no remedy, but that which you already use, making frequent protest to our Lord that you are willing to bear a living death and to take your spiritual food without taste, feeling or consciousness.

This advice may not seem very consoling, but it is very honest, recognizing that such a trial is to be endured with the grace of God, challenging us to use our will to remain faithful to God.

St. Francis de Sales continues his letter, challenging Madame de Chantal to offer these sufferings to God.

That Dear Lord would have us so entirely His as that nothing should remain ours, but that we may give ourselves up wholly, unreservedly to His Providence. Let us abide patiently amid the darkness of the Passion.

If you experience dryness in prayer, don’t give up, for Jesus is calling you closer to himself, challenging you to give-up the “sensations” of prayer and to prove your love of him in every circumstance.

This is what the saints did in their lives, loving God when all joy and peace in prayer has been removed.

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