Contemplation Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 138 quotes )
Contemplation in the age of Auschwitz and Dachau, Solovky and Karaganda is something darker and more fearsome than contemplation in the age of the Church Fathers. For that very reason, the urge to seek a path of spiritual light can be a subtle temptation to sin. It certainly is sin if it means a frank rejection of the burden of our age, an escape into unreality and spiritual illusion, so as not to share the misery of other men.
Before examining this more carefully and investigating its consequences, I want to dwell for a moment in the contemplation of God, to ponder His attributes in me, to see, admire, and adore the beauty of His boundless light, insofar as my clouded insight allows. Believing that the supreme happiness of the other life consists wholly of the contemplation of divine greatness, I now find that through less perfect contemplation of the same sort I can gain the greatest joy available in this life.
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which a man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of human is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for the brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way-an honorable way-in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,"The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.
There is a remarkable picture called 'Contemplation.' It shows a forest in winter and on a roadway through the forest, in absolute solitude, stands a peasant in a torn kaftan and bark shoes. he stands, as it were, lost in thought. Yet he is not thinking: he is "contemplating." If anyone touched him he would start and look bewildered. It's true he would come to himself immediately; but if he were asked what he had been thinking about, he would remember nothing. Yet probably he has hidden within himself, the impression which dominated him during that period of contemplation. Those impressions are dear to him and he probably hoards them imperceptibly, and even unconsciously. How and why, of course, he does not know. He may suddenly, after hoarding impressions for many years, abandon everything and go off to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. Or he may suddenly set fire to his native village. Or he may do both.
Everyone of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self..We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves. (34) Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular.(7) Our reality, our true self, is hidden in what appears to us to be nothingness....We can rise above this unreality and recover our hidden reality....(281) God Himself begins to live in me not only as my Creator but as my other and true self. (41)
The problem with the contemplative life was that there was no end to contemplation, no fixed time limit after which thought had to be transformed into action. Contemplation was like sitting on a committee that seldom made recommendations and was ignored when it did, a committee that lacked even the authority to disband.
Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading. "After all," sighed Narcissus the hunchback, "on me it looks good. The contemplation of his reflection does not turn Narcissus into Priapus: the spell in which he is trapped is not a desire for himself but the satisfaction of not desiring the nymphs. "I prefer my pistol to my p…," said Narcissus; "it cannot take aim without my permission" – and took a pot shot at Echo.
The first fruit of love is the musing of the mind on God. He who is in love, his thoughts are ever upon the object. He who loves God is ravished and transported with the contemplation of God. "When I awake, I am still with thee" (Psalm 139:18). The thoughts are as travelers in the mind. David's thoughts kept heaven-road. "I am still with Thee." God is the treasure, and where the treasure is, there is the heart. By this we may test our love to God. What are our thoughts most upon? Can we say we are ravished with delight when we think on God? Have our thoughts got wings? Are they fled aloft? Do we contemplate Christ and glory?... A sinner crowds God out of his thoughts. He never thinks of God, unless with horror, as the prisoner thinks of the judge.
But that had been grief--this was joy. Yet that grief and this joy were alike outside all the ordinary conditions of life; they were loopholes, as it were, in that ordinary life through which there came glimpses of something sublime. And in the contemplation of this sublime something the soul was exalted to inconceivable heights of which it had before had no conception, while reason lagged behind, unable to keep up with it.
What more could he need, this old man whose little leisure was divided between day-time gardening and night-time contemplation? Was not that narrow space with the sky its ceiling room enough for the worship of God in the most delicate of his works and in the most sublime? A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in -what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.
A day of dappled seaborne clouds. The phrase and the day and the scene harmonised in a chord. Words. Was it their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue: sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves, the greyfringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it was the poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing sensible world through the prism of a language manycoloured and richly storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose?
Whether you teach or live in the cloister or nurse the sick, whether you are in religion or out of it, married or single, no matter who you are or what you are, you are called to the summit of perfection: you are called to a deep interior life perhaps even to mystical prayer, and to pass the fruits of your contemplation on to others. And if you cannot do so by word, then by example.Yet if this sublime fire of infused love burns in your soul, it will inevitably send forth throughout the Church and the world an influence more tremendous than could be estimated by the radius reached by words or by example.
What was more needed by this old man who divided the leisure hours of his life, where he had so little leisure, between gardening in the daytime, and contemplation at night? Was not this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background, enough to enable him to adore God in his most beautiful as well as in his most sublime works? Indeed, is not that all, and what more can be desired? A little garden to walk, and immensity to reflect upon. At his feet something to cultivate and gather; above his head something to study and meditate upon: a few flowers on the earth, and all the stars in the sky.
That's the thing about being a Labrador retriever - you were born for fun. Seldom was your loopy, freewheeling mind cluttered by contemplation, and never at all by somber worry; every day was a romp. What else could there possibly be to life? Eating was a thrill. Pissing was a treat. Shitting was a joy. And licking your own balls? Bliss. And everywhere you went were gullible humans who patted and hugged and fussed over you.