Conversations with God are certainly nothing like a conversation with a human being.
At first this sounds like an absurdly obvious statement, but sometimes I think that God should make himself more easily available. It takes me a great deal of concentration and determination that I don't often have, especially with my huge attention deficit, to have good prayer.
I have long held the belief now that the reason God speaks to me when he does is because I'm ready to hear what he has to say, and not because he doesn't want to talk sometimes. My prayer only became good after I truly wanted to talk to God and would actually understand what he wanted to say. But as I have said to some extent in my last post, prayer lately has been difficult.
Though, now I believe I know why. Whereas for a while, I have had many incredible experiences of prayer with God that have led me not only to enjoy prayer, love God more, and make some important decisions regarding my love life, suddenly this all vanished. Every time I pray, though my approach to prayer is unchanged, I feel and hear nothing.
Saint Ignatius says that it is a normal part of anyone's spiritual lives to have periods of spiritual consolation and desolation. Consolation is the time where one feels God's presence, feels joy in their faith and grows easily spiritually, which is how I would describe my spiritual life in November and early December. I learned a lot very quickly in this time and entered a new stage of my life. Then after all those wonderful things, suddenly God felt a little farther away. I had no idea why.
At first I was worried I'd done something horribly wrong. Then I was worried I was starting to regress spiritually, that I was screwing up my prayer. Then I was worried about both. Now, I have a different opinion.
I have entered the opposite side of the coin of the spiritual life, that of desolation. Spiritual desolation happens often when someone slacks off in their spiritual life, but St. Ignatius, the expert on the topic, writes of two other reasons why it happens.
Sometimes it happens because God is testing how we will respond when the result is desolation and not an expected reward. "God may try us to test our worth, and the progress that we have made in His service and praise when we are without such generous rewards," says Ignatius. This makes perfect sense. Prayer felt so good, it was so wonderful and helpful and miraculous. I had come to expect it, and now God knows I need to see how my faith works without it.
I needed to see how I would handle the changes in my life if suddenly God withdrew and left me alone for a while. If I would suddenly make my girlfriend my god instead...if I would suddenly decide I no longer believed in God because he was silent. God knew what I would do, but I would not if it never happened.
I'm still trying to figure out the full implications of the result of my time in this period of desolation, but it's still not even over yet.
There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for full communion with the Lord eternally.