SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Don’t Give in to Discouragement in Prayer!

October 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Anthony Lilles, Difficulties, FEATURED, Perseverance, Prayer

Sometimes, when you offer all that you have and there is no more to give, all the good that you intended seems to crash down around you. All of your efforts seem to have been for naught. Hidden sacrifices and hidden tears seem to have paid no dividends.

Sometimes, while offering a noble sacrifice and tender act of mercy, you only accomplished your own humiliation. Not only the project that you failed to bring to completion, but your own weakness and inadequacy stare you in the face. No noble feelings are left. Only void remains.

Do not let this abyss of humiliation go to waste! Do not let the opportunity to pray in the midst of failure pass you by. For here, we are finally able to offer something of real worth in the eyes of God. Here, in the place where plans are shattered and the heart is broken, Christ Crucified awaits us in love – and the Author of our Faith waits to make our own faith perfect.

The King of Glory prefers these places of poverty and failure: consider where He was born and how He died. The Image of the Invisible God has chosen to make our humiliation His own.  When we are humiliated for His sake, He who is Mighty stands ready to exalt us.

That is why, precisely when we are engulfed in disappointment, we should not torment ourselves with what we thought ought to happen, but give thanks for what the Lord Himself will accomplish. We do not need to know how or what He will do. We only need to trust that His work will be so much more beautiful than anything that was limited by our own categories of success.

Faithfulness, not success, is the good soil of prayer. In failure and defeat the frailest act of love and trust makes the whole world vulnerable to a new work that the Creator yearns to accomplish. In such a sacred place, the smallest act of gratitude is like a mustard seed. When the heart is crushed, one instant of praise in such circumstance is like a priceless pearl in His eyes. Such an act opens fissures in this world and into these the Fount of Living Waters waits to pour the inexhaustible treasuries of His great mercy.

 

This post originally appeared on beginningtopray.blogspot.com

Image Credit: Neonbrand on Unsplash

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About Anthony Lilles

Anthony Lilles, a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, completed his graduate and post-graduate studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. He and his lovely wife, Agnes, are blessed with three children and live in California, where he is the Academic Dean, and Associate Professor of Theology, St. John's Seminary, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Academic Advisor for Queen of Angels House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years, Dr. Lilles worked for the Denver Archdiocese directing parish religious education, R.C.I.A. and youth ministry, as well as serving as Director of the Office of Liturgy for the Archdiocese and as Coordinator of Spiritual Formation for the permanent diaconate. In 1999, he became a founding faculty member of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary where he was Academic Dean for nine years and Associate Professor of Theology. He is a Board Member for the Society of Catholic Liturgy. Dr. Lilles has provided graduate level courses on a variety of topics including the Eucharist, the Sacraments of Healing, Church History, Spiritual Theology, Spiritual Direction and on various classics of Catholic Spirituality. His expertise is in the spiritual doctrine of Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In 2012, Discerning Hearts published his book "Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: A Theological Contemplation on Prayer," a compilation of discussions with seminarians, students, and contemplatives about the spiritual life. He collaborated with Dan Burke on the books "30 Days with Teresa of Avila" and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Therese of Lisieux. And, his book "Fire from Above" was published in 2016. Among his many accomplishments and responsibilities, Dr. Lilles now teaches theology for the Avila Institute. He blogs at BeginningtoPray.blogspot.com

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