Thursday, April 8, 2010

Degrees of Contemplation

St. Teresa of Jesus compares contemplation as water from a fountain: “rivers stream from this overflowing fount, some large, others small; and sometimes little pools”. (Way 20:2)

Some souls drink abundantly from this fountain, other partake only of a small rivulet. There are many forms of contemplation. This kind of prayer can be sweet, giving clarity, or dry and obscure, even painful. However, all forms of contemplation are useful to the soul. Contemplation, like water, if live-giving and opens the soul to intimacy with God. It can give the soul light into the mysteries of God. It can make the soul understand that God is everything and creatures are nothing.

All should seek contemplation because all are called to it. “Jesus stood up and exclaimed, "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: 'Rivers of living water will flow from within him." (John 7: 37) Keep in mind that God gives to whom He wishes, when He wishes and as much as He wishes. God never refuses this life-giving water to anyone who seeks it. The soul should seek it in the right way, however. We must do our part by disposing ourselves in such a way as to be worthy of this gift.

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