One of the telltale signs that one may believe that he is experiencing a severe purging is that the memory ordinarily centered upon God, now finds itself without sweetness in the things of God.
However, this does not come from weakness and lukewarmness, for it is the nature of lukewarmness not to care greatly or to have any attentiveness for the things of God. Thus there is a great difference between aridity and lukewarmness.
The flesh may be weak, but the spirit is willing.
The senses are devoid of any positive experience of being present to God, however the spirit lives from an inward food even though it resides in an arid and dark state of contemplation.
Because this work is as we mentioned from the beginning is passively welcomed as being worked in us through God’s initiative any efforts of our faculties hinders the work rather than aids it. God chooses to bind our interior faculties, blinds our ability to understand, debilitates our will, and creates amnesia in our memories…and more because he is accomplishing in the spirit by the aridity of our senses.
My experience of this dark night has left me floundering in my faith, depressed in my hope and questioning his love and care…really his interest and involvement. My whole state has gone through overwhelming swells of depression and abandonment. The will or bodily energy to go on is shattered like a vase across a concrete floor. I am not anything close to the self that I once knew. I am dried up and worn out. I have lost all ability to sustain emotional stability or longevity. I do not know the me that I have been left with and I do not know why God has chosen to make me abandon all that he made and leave me with nothing but a ghost town of mind, will and emotion.
This has been the most austere treatment I have ever known and I do not appear to myself as myself nor to others to be very well.