Now someone approached him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, ” ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”
The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
St. Teresa of Jesus when speaking of some causes of dryness at prayer, says that she had this young man in the Gospel of Matthew in mind. “For we are literally like him; and ordinarily great dryness in prayer comes from this, although it also has other causes.”
Dryness in prayer is an interior trial. Although interior trials involve much more than just a lack of devotion, dryness (or aridity), is a common phenomenon among those souls who have taken up prayer.
To make an issue of dryness, according to St. Teresa, shows a lack of humility.
In her work The Interior Castle, she encourages us on to “Enter, enter, my daughters, into the interior rooms; pass from your little works. By the mere fact that you are Christians you must do all these things and much more.”
St. Teresa writes that those who have entered the third dwelling places, souls of which there are many of in the world, long to not offend God and they even guard themselves against venial sins, they have well-ordered lives, practice penance and works of charity toward their neighbors. They are much like the young man in the Gospel.
“In my opinion,” writes St. Teresa, “there is no reason why entrance even into the final dwelling place should be denied these souls.” “But since there is need of still more in order that the soul possess the Lord completely, it is not enough to say we want it.”
(St. Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle, III:1, 5-7)