The Word of God, spiritual reading, and compassion are all remedies for aridity.
- Spiritual Reading and the Word of God
Pierre ensured that everyone received formation in the life of prayer and the Christian life. He also emphasized the need for spiritual reading to nourish prayer and Adoration and to face up to periods of “aridity”, which are normal in any life of prayer.
… This proved all the more necessary in that the Holy Spirit often immediately introduced people into a grace of delightful union with God. So there was a risk that they would become passively lazy or become discouraged once the sense of the presence and the Love of God love was less evident.
How can you have a prayer that is profound and spiritual, if you do not read spiritual books? … You must nourish your prayer beforehand, if you have an hour of prayer, well, have an extra half-hour!So, when people complained of being bored or sleeping in Adoration, which they were very quick to call “desert”, Pierre, full of common sense, following the example of Father Caffarel, asked two questions: “How long do you sleep at night?” and more specifically: “What time do you turn off the light?” And he invited people to note down the time they slept, as they did their prayer time. And his second question was: “Do you do spiritual reading?”…
… Pierre continued: To hear his voice, you have to know it, it is a whisper … In the commotion of our soul and our mind, it isn’t so easy to hear it. In order to hear it you have to learn His language. You must meditate on the Gospel, on His life, on His words … These are secrets of love. To understand them you have to love them, and to do so you have to know them.We have to make our minds and our emotions work, we have to meditate, that is to say, go over a passage, read it, reread it, be silent, trying to understand … Then one day, all these words I have heard a hundred times, suddenly, they have an overwhelming effect on me. Jesus’ words are words of Life …
Jesus is the Word incarnate, the Word straight to the heart; we must welcome it in our hearts.
To those who will say: “Oh these texts, I know them, I even know them by heart,” I say: “You are very fortunate if you know them by heart because you can repeat them daily, and gradually, by chewing on them and then digesting them, perhaps they will enter into your heart a bit.” So, since these texts that you know so well are the Scriptures, savour them, savour them.Pierre recalled the words of Christ: “Who are my brothers?” With a great oratorical gesture – because He was speaking, it needed to be seen! – Jesus said: “These are my brothers: those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” Ah! This is fantastic, but you really have to believe it!