Contemplative Prayer: It's for All of US

St John Of The Cross
July 28, 2020

The Catechism of the Catholic Church's (CCC) very readable discussion of contemplative prayer should remind us that it is not just for certain temperaments (see CCC 2709-2719). If it is as St Teresa of Avila says: 

Contemplative prayer [oración mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us” (CCC 2709)

then we all must be contemplatives, regardless of our personality, temperaments, or state of life.

Of course the contemplative life will be lived out differently for the average lay person than for a religious in a contemplative monastery. But we all need to take the time to make contemplation an integral part of our lives of prayer.  If we find we cannot silence our minds and hearts sufficiently to contemplate, it does not mean that contemplation must not be for us.  Rather, it means that we live in a frenetic and hectic world, that we suffer from concupiscence, and that we have a soul saving task ahead of us.  We must learn to master ourselves if we are to quiet our minds and hearts, in order to enter into a deep prayer of silent communion with Our Lord.  

The average lay person may not be able to spend great amounts of time dedicated to learning to quiet himself during contemplative prayer.  This is especially true say, of a young mother with a household full of young ones who demand her constant attention from rising to bedtime, or a person in business who is expected to be connected to the work phone 24/7.  However, there are things we can do to improve our self-mastery that can make the time we can devote to contemplative prayer, more fruitful.  

We can detach as much as possible from the noisiness of the world.  We can limit our consumption of hyper stimulating media (smart phones, computers, television/streaming, gaming, etc.).  We can practice temperance in food, drink, work, leisure, etc., teaching our emotions/appetites to obey our reason rather than habituating ourselves to always following our emotions/appetites.  We can take time to grow comfortable with silence by turning off the radio and turning off the (hands-free) phone while driving, for example.  We can spend more of our leisure moments in silent activities such as reading, painting, etc.  We can also make a determined effort to be attentive to the Lord as we enter our time of contemplative prayer and ask for His assistance in quieting ourselves and protecting us from distractions and temptations.  

As disciples of Jesus Christ, our vocation is to be transformed into Him.  We cannot become like Christ if we do not know Him intimately.  Contemplative prayer is the pathway to intimately knowing Jesus.  The fruits of a deep life of prayer which includes contemplation are manifold and immediate.  Anthony Lilles provides a helpful, contemporary example illustrating the fruit of contemplative prayer.  




Recent Posts

A Call to Courtship? How to Date Intentionally

February 23, 2024

Young people often express their desire for authentic friendship and their struggle to find a community. Without any in-person connections, more and more people are turning to online dating, which by its nature can make one feel even more isolated and misunerstood.

Read more

Lessons From the Tribunal

February 22, 2024

At this year's Dating and Marriage Conference , Anastacio Hinojosa, the former Director of the tribunal for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, shared his experiences overseeing annulments with a heartfelt intention – to spare others from the painful predicaments faced by couples seeking an annulment at the tribunal.

Read more

Marriage Communication for a Holy Partnership

February 21, 2024

In a world where communication suffers due to endless distractions and where selfishness often prevails, Deacon Chris Sperling's talk, "Communication at Every Stage of Marriage," serves as guide for couples navigating the complexities of married life. With over 13 years of experience in family therapy and armed with a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, Deacon Sperling brings not only expertise but also a profound understanding of the sacred bond of marriage.Read more

  • 1 of 39
Designed & Powered by On Fire Media |