Monday, August 18, 2014

The Contemplative Way (Monday Morning in the Desert)

Perhaps some people practice contemplative prayer to see visions or have dramatic experiences.  That is not the reason why Christians should practice contemplative prayer.  The reason why we are called to a life of contemplative prayer is to die to ourselves, follow the way of Christ, and to be drawn into the presence of God.  Regarding the contemplative way, Merton once wrote:

"The contemplative way is in no sense a deliberate 'technique' of self-emptying in order to produce an esoteric experience.  It is the paradoxical response to an almost incomprehensible call from God, drawing us into solitude, plunging us into darkness and silence, not to withdraw and protect us from peril, but to bring us safely through untold dangers by a miracle of love and power.  The contemplative way is, in fact, not a way.  Christ alone is the way, and he is invisible. The 'desert' of contemplation is simply a metaphor to explain the state of emptiness which we experience when we have left all ways, forgotten  ourselves, and taken the invisible Christ as our way." (From "Contemplative Prayer" by Thomas Merton, p. 92).

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Jay! I'm still working on how to express it. It's like soaking in the presence of God or sitting in silence with an old friend. The eastern approach to emptying our selves is really the same as dying to our old self. Coming out of Buddhism, they get it right this far. They just don't have a new self in Christ, our whole self, our new born self. They're in the old Adam as human beings while we are in the last Adam, Jesus our Lord,who is a life giving spirit. Chew on that and see what God shows you. Peace+