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Aridity – Divine Intimacy


Presence of God – O Lord, help me to be faithful to You, so that the spirit of prayer will not be extinguished in me through my own fault.


At the beginning of a more intense spiritual life the soul usually enjoys a sensible fervor which makes spiritual exercises easy and agreeable. Good thoughts, sentiments of love, and outpourings from the heart arise spontaneously. To be recollected and alone with God in prayer is a joy; time passes quickly, and frequently the presence of God becomes almost perceptible; there is a like facility in the practice of mortification and the other virtues. However, his state does not ordinarily last long, and there comes a time when the soul is deprived of all sensible consolation. This suppression of sensible devotion is the state of aridity, which may have various causes.

Sometimes it is the result of infidelity on the part of those who little by little have become lax, allowing themselves many slight satisfactions and pleasures and giving in to their curiosity, selfishness, or pride–which they had previously renounced. If they only realized what benefits they are losing by such conduct, they would be ready for any of sacrifice rather than yield to these weaknesses. The habit of mortification, which was acquired at great cost, is quickly lost, and they again become the slaves of their own passions. Self-love, which was not dead, but only sleeping, becomes active again and may become not only the cause of many voluntary imperfections which had previously been overcome but even of deliberate venial sins. It may ultimately reduce to lukewarmness a once fervent soul. The unfaithful who has fallen back into mediocrity cannot protest to Lord in prayer that it loves Him and desires to advance His love; still less can it taste the joy of knowing that it t loves God. Hence such a soul inevitably falls into aridity. In this condition the only remedy is to return to its fervor. This will cost it dearly, but far from becoming discouraged, the soul should begin anew as soon as possible. Besides, Our Lord loves so much to forgive!


“Lord, my God, You who are holy, look and see my affliction! Have pity on the child whom You have engendered in sorry and do not consider my sins, lest you forget Your power over them. What father will not liberate his son? And what son has not been chastised by his father’s compassionate rod? O Father and Lord, although I am a sinner, I am nonetheless Your child, because You have created and recreated me. Can a mother forget the fruit of her womb? If she should forget – You, Father, have promised to remember. Behold! I cry and You do not hearken to me, I am torn with grief, and You do not console me. What shall I say, what shall I do, miserable creature that I am? Deprived of Your consolation, I am far away from Your site.

“O Lord Jesus, where are Your ancient mercies? Shall You be angry with me forever? Be appeased I beg You, and do not turn Your face away from me… I confess that I have sinned, but I am certain that Your mercy surpasses my offenses!

“Weep my soul and complain, miserable one; groan because You have sent away Your Spouse, Jesus Christ, the All-powerful God; do not be angry with me, O Lord, for I could never withstand Your anger. Have pity on me, so that I may not fall into despair. Although I am worthy of condemnation, do not withhold that which can save sinners.

“I hope for much from Your bounty, O Lord, because You Yourself teach us to ask, to seek, and to knock; at Your word, I ask, I seek, I knock. O Lord, You who tell us to ask, grant that I may receive; You who tell us to seek, grant that I may find; You who teach us to knock at the door, open to the one who is knocking! I am weak strengthen me. Bring me back, because I have wandered away and revive me, because I am dead. According to Your good pleasure, direct and govern my senses, my thoughts, and my actions, that I may live by You and give myself entirely to You.” (St. Augustine).


Note from Dan: These posts are provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contain one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.


Art:  Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., mirror from open source material.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Marg

    Thank you Dan for your very timely message, I am going through a difficult spiritual struggle at this time and found your message to be helpful. Please keep me in your prayers! God Bless you and have a great day!

    • LizEst

      I shall pray for you, Marg

      • Marg

        Thank you LIz, its comforting to know that we can rely on each other for prayer in time of need! Bless you!

        • LizEst

          You’re welcome. God bless you too, Marg. I prayed for you at Mass this morning.

    • Marg, we are with you in Prayers.

      • Marg

        thank you Mary for your prayers!

    • Andrew Martins

      Dear Marg, I too was going through a very hard phase. But what REALLY helped me was a wonderful book with short but very meaningful commentaries on the readings at Sunday Mass. Its called New Insights on the Gospels. Try it out – I am sure God will bless you as He did to me:

      • Marg

        thank you for the info regarding New Insights on the Gospels.I’ll search it out!

  • LizEst

    “…we must remember that the substance of love does not consist in feeling, but in willing to give pleasure, [at] any cost, to the person loved.” So true! This is exactly what God has done for us. In the Paschal mystery, Christ ransomed us and prepared the way for us. For what? To give us, at the greatest price, the pleasure of spending our eternity in everlasting happiness with God, who is love.

  • patricia

    Thank you Dan for posting this meditation. I am going through a very very difficult time and now with no spiritual director it is intensified. So i ask for prayers. I know it is the will to love God that is important over the feelings and emotions. I am working on the mortification part. I appreciate this website even more. Thank you!

    • Be assured of my prayers. I am sorry you are going through so much but never forget that God is with you.

      • Patricia Budd

        Thank you

    • LizEst

      My continued prayers for you.

      • Patricia Budd

        Thank you

        • LizEst

          You’re welcome Patricia. I prayed for you at Mass this morning. God bless you.

    • Same here, Patricia. I have an idea of what you are going through. My search for a SD thus far, has had nil results. My prayers are with you, too

      • Patricia Budd

        For now we have to listen intently to the Holy Spirit

      • Patricia Budd

        Thanks for your prayers I will be praying for you

    • mickie72

      I am praying for you Patricia.I too , do to work issues, am having a hard time with this subject. I do have a SD but he is so busy that I get to meet with him about every 7 weeks or more. That can be a long time and even feel like I don’t have a SD. God DOES love you very much !!! I have such a strong feeling of that for you . God bless.

  • Neil MacDonald

    Thanks Dan for your awareness of what many of us suffer with on a daily basis. I for one have been there many times and the best solution for me I found to be Eucharist Adoration. Both my wife and myself chose to go for an hour every week at three am. It is so quiet and what a beautiful time to spend with our Lord. If nothing else, just sit and stare at our Lord and let him stare at you. Slowly I can start sharing with him my problems of the day, week or whatever. What an incredible feeling it is. It’s unbelievable how fast an hour goes by and the feeling of satisfaction after doing so is so rewarding. One week we had to stay an extra hour to cover for someone else and that two hours just flew by and as we walked down the walk from the church when leaving, we both said we really hated to leave. If you all have an opportunity to attend Eucharistic Adoration I ask that you give it a try. There’s nothing that will quickly end any form of aridity. God Bless.

  • RobinJeanne

    I just read this article about someone who left the Catholic church because he didn’t “feel” the Holy spirit. I’ve heard such things too many times, from too many people.

    I could be wrong but I don’t think christians in olden times, even as recent as my parents from the 40’s and 50’s considered what they were feeling, it was about faith. I think with poor catecheses and this fast pace, technically stimulating world… people have forgotten what simple reverence and awe is. What it really means to be in a relationship with the Lord. As with human marriages, it’s not all a honeymoon, there are hard and dry times and the divorce rate is as high for Catholics as with the non Catholics…. so also the divorce rate of those leaving the Catholic Church.

    • Becky Ward

      Robin, I can’t resist the urge to reply to what you’ve said here. Someone recommended Dr. Conrad Baars’ book “Healing and Feeling Your Emotions” in the comments of a post several months ago. I got it and it is amazing. We have confused ‘thinking’ with ‘feeling’, and the situational ethics that have been taught in schools for years, (good teachers being sucked in ‘by expert advice’), leave out right and wrong altogether. It is totally about how you feel about a situation (at the moment) that makes it okay or not. Leaving you perfectly free to change your mind if you feel differently tomorrow. (How else can people be so sad and sympathetic about children dying in a school shooting, and yet think that abortion, even partial-birth abortion is fine and dandy?) When our emotions are not brought under the control of the reason and the will… good moral guidance of those who teach and form us, we DO seek what ‘feels good’ rather than what we know IS good for us.
      We need an encounter with Christ that so touches our heart that we cannot forget it…….and causes us to seek to know Him better. I enjoy reading your comments.

      • RobinJeanne

        Exactly, I’m sure Jesus didn’t “feeling “like being tortured and hung on a
        cross. He knew it wasn’t about Him but his Fathers will and for our greater
        good. Mother Teresa knew this and kept her faith by serving the poorest of the
        poor, seeing Jesus in them, even though she felt no consolation for 50 yrs,
        nothing but dry, aridness. .

    • How true RobinJeane. I hang in there and perservere in my Rule of Prayer Life notwithstanding many a times I do not feel the Presence of God in my life. But as you state, I am an antique and know God is always there and I do not have to experience Him with my feelings – He is just like the sun when the sky is overcast by heavy clouds


    Dear Dan: Thank you for your meditation, I copied this for future reading when I get the blahs. Your comments and prayers are a treasure for me and I appreciate them all. God bless you. Donald

  • steve syvan

    Been in hell a long time. Christ is an inch away. I can’t reach Him.

    • Steve, when you can’t reach God, remember that he can reach you because he walks beside you, knows the hell you speak of and strengthens you even though you may not be aware. Faith will bridge the gap. I have prayed for you.

    • LizEst

      What’s going on, Steve?

      It’s difficult when “you can’t reach Him.” This can be aridity or the dark night of the soul…or even something that you are doing or not doing. Remember, “It is the Lord who marches before you; He will be with you and will never forsake you…” (Deuteronomy 31:8) as Christ said, “Lo, I am with you always always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:30). If you are keeping faith with Him and following in His ways, you must stay the course and in due time He will lift you up. “Either he will shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings” (St. Francis de Sales, “Introduction to the Devout Life). The aridity/dark night, in this instance, is purifying you.

      On the other hand, if you are not keeping His commands and following in His way, this self-made “hell” might be what is distancing you from Him. So, you must “Draw close to God and He will draw close to you” (James 4:8). As St Augustine put it, “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new… you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there…You were with me and I was not with you” (St Augustine, “Confessions” X, xxvii (38)).

      God bless you, Steve. Please take your situation to your spiritual director. If you don’t have one, you should find one.

    • $1650412

      Steve, I just heard Dan speak in person at a talk recently, and I wish I could give you the visual of one thing he said in particular. He was talking about St. Faustina and the word from Jesus she received about His mercy and how powerful and accessible the Divine Mercy is– all you need to do to experience the grace of God to restore you is to incline your gaze, your mind your heart toward him even in the smallest way and He will flood your soul with grace. It’s as if He is waiting to run to you to embrace you and weep tears of love and joy over your return to Him, but He waits barely containing Himself, because He does not know if you really want Him- or if you reject Him. If you just glance His way with an ounce of longing- He will reach you.

    • rjk123

      Steve: I have an image of you just reaching and reaching — almost like Adam and God the Father in Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. I see your Faith. You know He is just an inch away. I thank God for the beauty of your Faith and feel confidence on your behalf that He is smiling at you and that soon you will know it! God bless your faithful, searching heart! Rachel

    • Why, Steve? Then take this commonsense fact in your heart……He is with you because you are alive. Remember, Steve, In Him we live, move and have our being. As LisEst states below, Jesus is waiting for you to turn to Him. Do not remain in this self-made hell because He does not want you to suffer alone.

  • “Although I am worthy of condemnation, do not withhold that which can save sinners.”

  • judef

    Timely article, i was feeling aridity and this article has shown me the way. Keep writing…

  • $1650412

    It seems like a lot of people are experiencing trials of faith right now- I find consolation here in RCSD in reading what so many have shared about their own experience of aridity- so in the Holy Spirit we are united to Jesus and to one another, even in this- even in the absence of consolation; but knowing this, is in itself a consolation. We can pray together that those in this trial who do not know ‘we are all in this together’ so to speak, might draw even greater necessary grace from all our prayers and sacrifices.

  • Susan Fritter Larmour

    A calendar to use with Divine Intimacy that is based on the liturgical calendar. Written by a seminarian –

  • Sandra Saunders Traw

    I know what is like to have experienced God’s presence. I have been on a search for that for years. The scriptures no longer speak to me or bring me joy, the songs no longer bring me anything. I studied RC for several years …love my new home was so sure I would feel Jesus’s Presence in His body and blood..have not felt His presence in reconciliation nor in anointing…..I pray each day the payer of petition!!!!i
    Where has my Savior gone….why can’t I find him?

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