I've spent the last few days
Since Advent started, I've been praying the Sunday readings with the use of guided meditations from a lectio divina book I bought. I've tried to pray through each meditation 2-3 times throughout the week. I've found that I've been able to get into a much deeper form of prayer, which I think means that I'm doing it right? I love prayer, but even after all these years of practice I still wonder if I'm doing it the way that God wants me to do it. The guided meditations take you from lectio, the first reading and the gospel reading for that Sunday with some commentary on the scriptures, then there are questions for the meditatio, the beginning prayer for oratio, then contemplatio and operatio.
During contemplatio, my mind was completely blank, unoccupied by the usual endless stream of words, my eyes were closed, and I felt my heart being drawn up completely into the Lord's. I didn't come away with any revelation about what to do with my life or any firm resolve to turn away from my sins, but it was a very intimate moment. I'm not sure how long it lasted, and no words were exchanged. I started by praying that God would just work on my heart, and He did!
It made me question if I had ever really had a real experience of God before that. (I'm not denying that I have had experiences of God, this just seemed that much deeper.) It also made me question the whole idea of consolation and desolation, or at least my understanding of it. Formerly, I'd thought of desolation as just seasons where you can't "feel" God moving, and are usually uninspired to pray, etc. After that experience, I wonder if I haven't been in desolation my whole life, and the only consolation is meeting God in that place. If the saints, who are way better at praying than I am, regularly have those intimate moments with God, and then He withdraws from them, perhaps that is real desolation, and anything I've named desolation in my life is just me being a brat. I bought St. John of the Cross's Dark Night of the Soul to find out for myself. I've been so into my carmelites lately!
Human will is a tricky thing.
Mary, Queen of the Universe, pray for us!