On Spiritual Progress

What is this dryness in meditation which I am describing; this refusal to fix our thoughts on spiritual things? Clearly it may depend on some fault in ourselves. It may depend on some unhealthy attachment in our hearts, lack of vigilance, or the thorns in which we have let the good seed be choked. Difficulty in meditation is not always the sign of an advance of the soul towards God, or the progress to a higher type of prayer.

But it may, thank God, be a sign of that. How can one know the difference?

Again John of the cross tells us.

There are three signs which indicate the movement from discursive to contemplative prayer:

1.We lack the desire to use the imagination.

2. The imagination and the senses no longer have the will to think about specific things. The things of the earth offer no consolation. 

3. The soul wants to remain still, directed towards God alone. It desires inner peace, quiet and repose; it no longer feels the need to use the human faculties. 

This third condition is good. If it is present in the soul it justifies the other two. If I have difficulty in meditating on God, if I no longer succeed in fixing my attention on one mystery or another in the life of Jesus, on one truth or another, but I am craving to remain alone and motionless and silent at the feet of God, empty of thought but in an act of love,…. it means something great. It is one of the most beautiful secrets of the spiritual life.

– excerpt from Letter from the Desert, Carlos Carretto

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