2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”8 If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle

requires conversion.’9


Facing temptations in prayer 2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our 2609, 2089 actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labours or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not 2092 yet share in the disposition of a humble heart: ‘Apart from me, you 2074 can do nothing.’2° 2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depres— 2094 sion due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’2’ The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by 2559 their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.


Filial Trust

2734 Filial trust is tested — it proves itself— in tribulation.22 The principal difficulty concerns the prayer of petition, for oneself or for 2629 others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard. Here two questions should be asked: Why do we think our petition has not been heard? How is our prayer heard, how is it ‘efficacious’?

Why do we complain of not being heard?

2735 In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: