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About Contemplation

Contemplation is not a theological discourse in which a brilliant combination of ideas about God is woven, playing with premises and coming to conclusions. Neither does it deal with an exegetical reflection by which we arrive at an exact meaning of what the sacred author wanted to say. Contemplation, is intuitive, integrating, subjective, affective, unifying…

In contemplation, there is no reference point in the self: the things that refer to the self are not important to the contemplative. The only things that have an impact are the things that refer to the Other. They are not elated by successes nor thrown by failures. Because of this, the great contemplatives are full of maturity and grandeur, with an unchanging joy, with the characteristic serenity of those who are in an orbit of peace above the ups and downs, storms, and troubles of daily living.

Contemplatives are submerged in silence. In their interior there is no dialogue but only a warm and pulsing current of communication. It is a silence full of awe and presence which the psalmist felt when he said, “Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the world” (Ps 8).

Contemplatives affirm nothing. Nor is anything explained. The contemplatives do not understand nor try to understand. Arriving at the port, letting go of the oars, they enter the sabbath rest. This is the overwhelming possession in which all desires and all words are silenced forever. The union of being with Being is consummated, of interior with Interior, of mystery with Mystery.

For the contemplative, it is enough to be “at the feet” of the Other without knowing or wanting to know; only looking and knowing that one is looked at, like a warm afternoon that completely surpasses all expectations, where everything appears to be quiet and eternal. We could say that the contemplative is mute, drunk, identified, enveloped, and penetrated by the presence, as John of the Cross says:

I left myself and forgot myself, my face bowed before my Beloved, everything ceased, and I left myself, leaving my cares, forgotten among the lilies.

Excerpted from the book Sensing Your Hidden Presence, by Father Ignacio Larrañaga