Obstacles to Prayer and Contemplation
Everyone is distracted at some point in prayer. Noises, physical aches and pains, and one’s life concerns can disrupt contemplation. Additionally, you can recite traditional prayers like the Lord’s Prayer or The Rosary without paying much attention. This is where we have to detach ourselves from the distraction and return to our prayer and become respectful and attentive.
Most contemplative prayer techniques, like entering into a bible scene, make it easier to be engaged and less distracted. Regardless of the type of prayer, we allow our thoughts to come and go, and we do not hold on to any unwanted distractions. Distractions always occur and should not make you upset with yourself.
The Seven Ds of Spiritual Life
The Seven Ds are challenges that may appear after some time spent in the Spiritual Life of a Contemplative. Several of the great Saints experienced some of these tests. We’ve all heard of the “Dark Night.”
1. Darkness is a feeling of God’s absence.
2. Dryness is a feeling of emptiness in prayer. More temporary than darkness.
3. Desolation is a feeling of God’s absence with a sense of hopelessness.
4. Doubt is intellectual indecision about God’s existence.
5. Disbelief is an intellectual state of not accepting the existence of God.
6. Depression is a profound form of sadness.
7. Despair is a feeling that all is and will remain hopeless.
Father James Martin, SJ said in his new book Learning to Pray:
“Your expectations in the spiritual life and the life of prayer need to be modest.”
But he goes on the say:
“God will show up.
You will encounter God.
You will experience God’s love.
God will invite you into further conversation.
God will invite you into a deeper relationship.”
There you have it. We will be tested, but if we have faith with perseverance, we will prevail. God is love, and he will strengthen us through our challenges and draw us to Him.