Lent is about the desert really. It’s the long winding journey to the Promised Land, and it can be really, really dry. I vaguely remember a story of a sister in the convent with St Teresa of Avila who was caught trying to avoid the call to chapel. She confessed that she didn’t feel like praying, and St Teresa said neither did she, but they must do so anyway. There are times when praying is so dry you can wonder whether the words themselves even mean anything.
The Church as always known this of course and hence she has given us Divine Office. We don’t have to try and make our own words work, when they simply aren’t going to – we can offer back to God His own Words. Much better. Thankfully when He was going about inspiring the writers of the Psalms and other Scriptures, He was offering beautiful Words that are good for the soul peace and of course soul scrubbing.
Nothing worthwhile is easy so it’s always good to persevere in prayer, but it is also quite true that we have what a friend of mine calls “seasons”. In this season with little children, ill health and lots going on, perhaps the prayers, get a bit jumbled and ragged. Perhaps they don’t even happen at all some days.
Fortunately for us we have the saints (the Church Triumphant) to pray for us. We do so every day probably, and it has occured to me a couple of times when I am just so tired, I can’t even see the words of Divine Office, much less pray them, that our friends in heaven can take up our prayer and do some of it for us.
I am not suggesting we get lazy in prayer and simply say, oh if the saints and other people are praying I don’t have to. That wouldn’t be a good idea at all. But on those really awful days, or seasons, where we just aren’t getting it together, then it’s good to know that the saints are there and of course some prayer warriors here in the Church Militant.