BLESSINGS, dear friends of the heart! The heart: where the Divine Guet awaits our listening silence. May we learn to dele ever more deeply into the contemplative Silence within that links our soul like a vertical beam of light to heaven and earth. Our lives beome more joyful, peaceful, and loving, increasing our reverence and honoring of ALL life.
Contemplating the Indwelling Presence, you are given new eyes of faith, hope, and love to see God's grandeur bursting forth... All things cry out to you that God is here. This place is indeed holy! With eyes of a child filled with wonder and joy, you open to God's living revelation in all things. You believe nothing can keep out the loving, presence of God as love in all things. As you act on that living faith, it becomes a reality. Every moment with all your material involvements allows you to become more and more united with the Indwelling Presence of God, the triune community of I-Thou in a We of self-giving persons.
To live a contemplative life is to be open enough to see, free enough to hear, real enough to respond. It is a life, and so it has its own rhythms of darkness, of dying-rising. Simply enough, it is a live of grateful receptivity, or wordless awe, of silent simplicity.
The world has become noise, silence its orphan child. The contemplative is a seed of silence planted amidst the jungle of noise, one whose harvest will come at a later time, perhaps a later age. The contemplative is a witness to silence, affirming that all things come out of silence and must return to silence to be healed and re-created.
Contemplative life does not have to be seen as a special vocation reserved for some special souls only; it is open to all, and all are invited to enjoy it. You do not have to be in special circumstances to practice it, because it consists not so much in what you do as in the attitude and the perspective in which your ordinary actions are performed. It is a life of wonder. The contemplative is one who look around at the world and marvels at reality. We are living as contemplatives when we are thoroughly alive ourselves and when we are alert and sensitive to the reality of other beings and disposed to appreciate them.
If we are designed to be in communion with God, if God is our Lover, then we have to indulge in the things that lovers do. The lover wishes always to be in the loved one's presence, to gaze and behold. The name for this loving regard is contemplation.
In silent contemplation, the intellect is bypassed, and we are taken into a transcendent dimension understood only by the spirit. In silence our spirit will recognize the Beloved's Spirit.
The contemplative life is about
knowing, loving and listening
to all of life
and to God in it ...
An attitude of contemplation helps us to see the quiet beauty that is all around us in the world, in the faces of the people in our lives or the way a cat stretches, as well as in the mundane tasks that take up so much of our time. We can begin to cultivate the "listening heart." This contemplative way of seeing, hearing, and feeling brings richness and depth of meaning to our lives. It allows us to know what is real and essential. It helps us move toward freedom and wholeness as we see more clearly into the truth of the moment.
It seems to me that a mountain is an image of the soul as it lifts itself up in contemplation. For in the same manner as the mountain towers above the valleys and lowlands at its foot, so does the soul of the one who prays mount into the higher regions up to God like an eagle taking wing.
It is significant that the Latin word "templum" originally meant a vast space, open on all sides, from which one could survey the whole surrounding landscape as far as the horizon. This is what is meant to CONTEMPLATE: to "set one's sights on" Heaven from the temple that defines the field of vision... The temple is the place, the organ of vision.
To be a contemplative we must become converted to the consciousness that makes us one with the universe, in time with the cosmic voice of God. We must become aware of the sacred in every element of life. We must bring beauty to birth in a poor and plastic world. We must grow in concert with the God who is within. We must restore the human community. We must be healers in a harsh society.
And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude
Where, with her best nurse Contemplation,
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings.
Contemplative prayer is not a conversation in words, but an exchange of hearts.
As the conversation turned to waiting, Brother Anthony leaned forward in his chair. "Contemplative waiting is consenting to be where we really are," he explained. "People recoil from it because they don't want to be present to themselves. Such waiting causes a deep existential loneliness to surface, a feeling of being disconnected from oneself and God. At the depths there is fear, fear of the dark chaos within ourselves.
Brother Anthony was exactly right. Ultimately, we are fleeing our own dark chaos. We are fleeing ourselves.