Contemplation


Someone asked me yesterday about the difference between meditation and contemplation. I said that meditation is a reflection upon a text or an event in the Scriptures whereas contemplation is more of a resting in the presence of God following meditation and in the understanding He gives.

St. John of the Cross wrote about this in a much more eloquent way:

“When spiritual persons cannot meditate, they should learn to remain in God’s presence with a loving attention and a tranquil intellect, even though they seem to themselves to be idle. For little by little and very soon the divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of God, enveloped in divine love, will be infused into their souls.” AMC 2:16:5

Muto summarizes what John is saying in two words:

Don’t worry.” She then says, “If you cannot meditate for all the reasons given, simply remain in God’s presence with loving attention, with a tranquil mind. Even if it seems that you are idle, trust that a deeper stirring is in process. ” Her paraphrase of Teresa of Avila follows, “let nothing disturb you, nothing disquiet you, nothing draw you out of your peaceful contentment. This pacification of soul is after all no small accomplishment.” The Ascent 75

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