Earlier this week I saw a post on facebook informing everyone of the good news: “Spring is only 60 days away”. Now that we are deep into the winter months the desire for warmer weather continues to grow. I must admit that winter grows old for me very quickly, and the prospect of warmer weather coming in a couple of months is very attractive. The months of January and February are long and cold, it seems like the world is asleep, and it can lead us to feel like we just want to sleep. An analogy can be made here to our life of faith. We go through these slow and sleepy seasons in our spiritual life that can become a bit discouraging. Traditionally we call those slow times desolation, a slow period in our life of faith. These can be manifested with lack of enthusiasm for prayer, loss of appetite for spirituality and for God, and irritation in our relationships. Hopefully there are some things we can do to combat spiritual winters. First, we should remember that “spring is only 60 days away”, or, in other words, that desolation is always followed by consolation, and that this period of dryness in our life of faith will pass. Just as night is always followed by day, winter is always followed by spring, so too desolation is always followed by consolation. We have no choice but to go through these periods in our life, because they too are necessary for our spiritual growth. While we are in the midst of the wintery spiritual slowness we are encouraged to push ourselves and stay active: continue to pray even if it is difficult, continue to reach out to people even when we don’t feel the need to do so, etc. Another help during the winter of the spirit is to remember what we did last summer and plan what we will do next summer. I love watching some videos from my motorcycle trips during the dead of winter, it always lifts me up and helps me get excited and begin to prepare for the spring. Similarly in our spiritual life, while in desolation it is good to remember moments of consolation, sharing stories when we felt great closeness with God, reading inspiring literature about the saints, etc. For most of us this is not our last winter, and this is not our last desolation. God is working in our souls even when we don’t feel Him, so we must keep the hope alive because “spring is only 60 days away”.
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