Wednesday, April 29, 2009

real contemplation

"Genuine contemplation involves no tension. There is no reason why it should affect anyone's nerves: on the contrary, it relaxes them. It leaves you rested and refreshed in your whole being. There is no strain in real contemplation, because when the gift is real, you do not depend on it, you are not enslaved by the "need" to experience anything. The contemplative does not seek reassurance in himself, in his virtue, in his state, in his "prayer". His trust is in God, not in himself. The peace and "rest" of contemplation is the fruit of a living faith in the action of divine grace. The contemplative is able to let go of himself and everything else, knowing that everything that matters in his life is in God's hands, and that he does not have to "take thought for the morrow." He fully realizes the meaning of the Gospel message of salvation by the grace of God and not by dependence on human ingenuity."

-- Thomas Merton
The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation
William H. Shannon, editor (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco,2003); p 113.