Where Does Contemplation Go When Our Head is Busy? (Fifth Answer)

At Our Lady of Perpetual Help Minor Seminary in Sriracha, Thailand

It’s an experience: we are contemplative, whether through a dark night of some sort (for those are when contemplation can typically take hold of us by liberating us from attachments in our senses and in the deeper roots of our spirit) or by some other more extraordinary means… and then “real life” resumes. Although, truth to tell, contemplation is very real also. What I mean is that we contemplate Jesus and his family, and then our head just becomes busy later. We have duties. We have to think about something particular. We have to go about business. We’re busy. Our head, moreover, is busy.

Where did contemplation go?

Did it just up and leave? Did contemplation completely stop and then, later, it might completely start again, like some sort of on/off switch?

Or is it better to say that it went somewhere within us and that it may resurface later? or that we might go deep enough again later to find its resting place?

Saint Francis de Sales is adamant that this kind of contemplative gaze on the Father was, for Jesus, retained only in the “supreme point” or “summit” of his soul when his body and head and so on were overhwelmed:

So in  the sea of passions by which Our Lord was overwhelmed, all the faculties of his soul were, so to say, swallowed up and buried in the whirlpool of so many pains, exceptions only the point of his spirit, which, exempt from all trouble, remained bright and resplendent with glory and felicity.

And so it can be with us. This is the religion of the Incarnation. When we are not aware of it, the string of contemplation that holds us to the Father is always there, in the supreme, hidden point of our soul. We will simply, if it is God’s will, enter further up and further in to find it again later. Of course, with Jesus, the thread was perhaps more conscious than with us. Of course. He is God! But the manifestness or the level of consciousness of some experience is not the most important thing for us. After all, we are of a religion where God grew up as a little boy, not always conscious of things. The thread is there. We love. We die to self. We love. That is what counts.

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2 thoughts on “Where Does Contemplation Go When Our Head is Busy? (Fifth Answer)

  1. I think it was St. Cuthbert who spoke about work as a form of prayer. This totally changed the nature of work for me. I realised that the communion with God, and indeed the awareness of the presence of God, was not something I had to let go of. But I think it takes practise, and the further along one moves, the more one realises how small and how far away we mortal creatures are, which is a paradox.

  2. Pingback: “Contemplative in the Mud” | SOUL FOOD MINISTRIES

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