As the summer months grow more and more hot and dry, committed individuals who take time the unforgiving sun to care for their little green charges. Patient folk seek out water and deliver it, nurturing the plants in their care despite the long hot season ahead. The grass is greener where we water it.
Our spiritual development is no different. We will all go through long, hot, dry seasons where there is little to no spiritual rainfall. These are the seasons of living when we feel so far separated from the Mass that we wonder if it is even worth our time to be here. Our prayer journals are put out of sight and slowly begin to gather dust; our rosaries sit forgotten in our cars or on bedside tables. Parched and exhausted from just getting through the day, we forget that seeking out the Lord will actually strengthen us rather than weaken us. We have to mindfully, purposefully seek God out, even when we don't feel like it.
St. Teresa of Calcutta was intimately familiar with dry seasons in her prayer life. Imagine being so spiritually powerful, so committed to watering your soul, that you would pray for years without respite. St. Teresa went for decades without feeling God’s gentle grace in her life and yet, she pursued God’s love. It can be so tempting to give up when we see that long stretch of hard hot work ahead of us, toiling back forth from source of water to plants and back again. But the grass is greener where we water it.
We cannot water plants without first collecting water ourselves.
We cannot serve those God has called to serve without first serving ourselves through critical self-care such as eating well, exercising, and resting.
We cannot bring others closer to God without first seeking God ourselves.
If you are facing down a dry season right now, carve yourself out time to water your own spiritual garden. Promise yourself even just five minutes a day with the Word and nurture your own spiritual life. It takes many, many days of good rain and gentle sun to make our good, green earth bloom out. With good intention comes good habit, leading to a bountiful harvest at the end of the a long, hot growing season.