Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

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Breaking Out of a Dry Spell and Rediscovering God

cracked dry earth with barren tree on the right side
Photo courtesy of Pexels
I had the most amazing experience during the Consecration at All Saints Day Mass: I felt the presence of God. Since I was in the choir area, I saw the back of the priest's vestments with the host & wine lifted high above his head. You may be thinking "What's so different this time? I feel His presence all the time". The difference is that I have been going through an incredibly dry period. This one seems so much longer and drier than past dry periods. Maybe it's because over the past few years I felt closer to God than I had in a long time, which made the dry period seem longer and drier.
I spoke with my Spiritual Director who urged me to keep doing my daily prayer routine. As I told her, I will not let Satan win. So many mornings I have felt like I've gotten nothing out of the Readings or prayer. No matter how hard I tried, I just didn't get it. How hard must it be for religious and saints to go through dry periods! Oh, but when you feel that presence of God again, what a joyous feeling!

Why the dry period?

Reflecting over the cause of the dry period gave me a couple of reasons why this was happening.
1) Our parish priest recently retired. I absolutely love this man! He is so tender, so understanding, so...HOLY, although he would be the first one to dispute that. He is one of the best (if not THE best) homilists I've ever heard. He can take a reading and in just a few minutes relate it to your life. His homilies were short, sweet, to the point, and relatable. His love for God came through during every single Mass. His enthusiasm for spreading The Word was evident every time he was on the altar. Once he retired, it was like the wind was taken out of my sail. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but it felt like the whole church atmosphere did a 180. I had trouble feeling God during the Mass. I rotely went through the Mass, not really understanding what was being said or being able to apply it to experiences in my life. I took notes during the Homily, but those notes over the past month were so scattered that they just didn't make sense. Having a priest on the altar who genuinely loves his calling (and not seeing it as a "job") makes all the difference in the world.
2) Change. I don't like it. It seems any time I get too comfortable, I have to deal with change. And this was a big one. When I first moved back "home", I was a church hopper. I couldn't find the parish where I felt comfortable and where I felt I belonged. Even in the parish where I grew up, I didn't feel welcome. Every time I thought I found a church home, the priest would leave or be reassigned. Now that I found a home in my childhood parish (the same one where I didn't feel welcome), I was comfortable, and my spiritual life was flourishing.
3) Busy-ness with other things. The beginning of the school year is always hectic but this year seems to be so much worse. On top of that, things out of our control have been happening to the RCIA team so a couple of us are having to take up the slack. And if that weren't enough, in the middle of all of that I presented with a couple of people and had a booth in the exhibit hall for our state speech/language convention.

How things are looking up

The new priest who is assigned to my parish (his title is "Parochial Vicar") came a few weeks ago. He's young (early 30's) and his love for God and the Mass is very evident. When he first opened his mouth to speak, I thought "uh-oh" because he has a monotone speaking voice while celebrating Mass. But his homily! While it's pretty obvious he's reading his homily (our previous parish priest never read his homily...it was heartfelt and never read), he has a good message. It's not too long, and it's definitely not all over the place. His first Sunday, he had to talk about stewardship. He managed to direct the theme to the Gospel as well as our every day lives, so he won my approval on the spot. He's also a fellow blogger; he posts his homilies so they can be revisited during the week. On All Saints Day, he had this on the altar:
picture of relic on a table
I've seen this in our Adoration Chapel but had no idea what it was. It is a first-class relic from St. Maria Goretti. According to Mary Rezac in an article for the Catholic News Agency (11/01/2017, "Is it Weird that Catholics venerate relics? Here's why we do"): First class relics are the body or fragments of the body of a saint, such as pieces of bone or flesh.
So far, our new priest is piquing my interest and curiosity so that I want to learn more about my faith. I want to delve into the lives of the saints (specifically St. Maria Goretti) to learn more about her since she is a part of our parish. He also mentioned that he was born on the anniversary of the conclusion of the Fatima apparitions, and now he is at Our Lady of Fatima. Definitely a "God-incidence". I think I can learn a lot from him.
I met with my Spiritual Director a couple of weeks ago and she gave me some excellent ideas to keep plugging away. Several years ago, Jennifer Fulwiler wrote a blog post offering 9 Tips for Spiritual Dry Spells. Most of her suggestions follow what I was told to do.
Things are easing up with work so I can take the time to read and just be silent. I don't feel as if I'm being pulled in 100 different ways. I'm sticking to my routine and it's proving to be effective. Slowly but surely I can feel God creeping back into my heart and letting me know that He is still there.
Cracked dry earth with barren tree to the right side with the words "My soul thirsts for God, the living God" (Psalms 4:23) above the picture




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