Four Questions Part 2D--What Do I Mean By Contemplation?


When I have used the term in the past, I must admit to having in mind infused contemplation. Perhaps later I will get to my reasoning for that. However, I must admit that not everyone makes it there, nor is everyone likely to--not everyone is called to endure the trials that would result in infused contemplation. That said, I must also say, that we are all, nonetheless invited to it, and we will all eventually participate in it (assuming that we make it to Heaven.)

By contemplation, I mean wordless prayer that raises the soul to God to gaze upon the beloved and to simply be present to the One who loves us. I believe that everyone could and should strive to obtain acquired contemplation, sometimes called "resting in the Lord," in which our intellectual labors have been brought to perfection and now the spirit labors on.

I also must side with Garrigou-Lagrange who said (I think and I paraphrase), "Surely God would not call souls to this high state of prayer only to turn them away from the table." Implying that infused contemplation while a gift given at God's discretion, is not one that is arbitrarily withheld. Most souls that make it to the stage of acquired contemplation are ready for infused contemplation; however, they still may not make it. This they fail to do for any number of reasons, most of them related to their own imperfection and ignorance of how to proceed. But I also not that it is entirely plausible that there could be such a grave defect in a soul that God must proceed exceedingly slowly so as not to harm it. He may indeed need to proceed so slowly that the person would die a natural death of old age before achieving infused contemplation. This in no way condemns the frail soul--it is simply a reality of spiritual life.

To conclude--when I use the word contemplation, I am more often than not speaking of infused contemplation, in which we actively rest from the labors of the intellect and bestow a long, loving gaze upon the Most High, the Father who loves us and calls to us.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 29, 2004 6:55 AM.

Four Questions Part 4 was the previous entry in this blog.

How Then Does A Lay Person Live Out a Contemplative Life? is the next entry in this blog.

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