Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

May nothing disturb you.

May nothing astonish you.

Everything passes.

God does not go away.


can attain anything.

He who has God within,

does not lack anything.

God is enough!”  [St. Theresa of Avila]

We have been engaged in Lent for a while now. The newness, the excitement of our dedication, the solemnity with which we approached each discipline, are waning. We are feeling dry. We find excuses–“I just don’t have time today,” or “I don’t think this is a meaningful practice after all.”

We see the long path still ahead. We are weary already.

Imagine how Jesus felt. Whether his 40-day trek in the desert, or his never-ending mission of radical openness. A friend pointed this out to me recently. Jesus was the Outsider, the one misunderstood by almost everyone, vilified by some, ignored utterly by others. How broad and endless must his desert have seemed to him.

St. Teresa informs us how to handle this difficult time. It is not very different from what we learn in Centering Prayer. Surrender, be patient, let nothing disturb you, either good or bad. It is all the same. God is within, fall into the heart. God is ever there.

I’ve received conflicting advice as to how to  handle the dry times. My inclination is to become more intense and devoted to ritual. It is the doing, rather than the meaningfulness (for that is never there in times of dryness) that is key.

Others have advised that one strip away all but essential practice, clear the decks if you will.

Perhaps both are equally valid, one works one time, another, another.

What is essential I feel, is what Teresa suggests, let nothing disturb you. Lent is the time of introspection, reflection and quiet.

Her remark that “everything passes” is excellent advice. Everyone from Buddha to your neighborhood psychoanalysist would tell you that. It is the way of getting past our melancholia. We who have lived sufficient years know how very true this is. Our dryness too will pass.

Soon, we will begin to feel the stirring of the coming Easter, that which we have waited for. Until then, rest. For God is within.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tim
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 12:15:35

    Ah, Sherry, here you have explained my need to let go for the past few days. I realized I’d become a prisoner to my Lenten pursuits–writing every day, reading everyone else’s reflections, honoring church commitments, etc. I’d gone bone-dry, and actually felt concerned I might have lost my way.

    Essentially, I sat down on rock and listened to the wind blow, knowing God’s Spirit is the wind. There were no epiphanies or revelations–just presence, which was more than enough to resume the journey, this time with more attention to it than deadlines and obligations I’ve attached to it.

    I so appreciate coming here and finding this–it is confirmation and food for my soul!

    Many blessings, dear friend,


    • Sherry
      Mar 31, 2011 @ 14:55:12

      Oh I’m so glad my post was timely. I do think I’m kinda going on rote a bit these last few days, and I usually have to stop and reassess what and wherefore …it is the desert after all.


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