This morning in my meeting at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Tallahassee, Florida, I was joined by two wonderful persons who were seeking God through contemplation. In my attempts to fumble around to describe to them what contemplation is, I came up with these ideas that you might find interesting. As a Lay Cistercian in process of moving from self to God, Contemplation means…

  • opening the mind to explore the heart
  • exploring the heart means, learning to be still in silence and solitude
  • learning to be still in silence and solitude means you meet Christ on the level of being, not human requirements
  • meeting Christ on the level of being means you discard all human conventions of communication and listen
  • listening to Christ means you must be humble and obedient to the Father, as Christ was
  • being meek and humble of heart means you can approach God  with Christ as your mediator without burning up your nerve endings 
  • you must be tamed to follow Christ authentically (…it is only with the heart that one sees rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. –The Little Prince)
  • being tamed means you are constant and consistent in your approach to Christ each day (another word for prayer and being present to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament)
  • you want to be with the one you love
  • Cistercian practices allow each of us to approach the heart of Christ and wait in our own way
  • waiting for Christ is emptying oneself to be able to fill up in us that which is Christ (capacitas dei)
  • Capcitas dei (making room for Christ in my cluttered heart) means moving inside our soul with silence, solitude, work, prayer and community
  • Moving inside our soul is the meaning of contemplation
  • When speaking of contemplation, it is always just the beginning
  • The Holy Spirit is the height and the depth, the width of all human attempts at contemplation.

Praise be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen –Cistercian doxology

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