Let’s learn to be contemplatives PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 13:27

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Yes, let’s learn to be contemplatives since we actuallyl are meant to have contemplative life. It’s not only nuns and monks hidden and sunk in prayer in convents and monasteries who need to be contemplatives. Contemplative life is for all of us!

Contemplative life is a great need for us since it represents the fullness of our consciousness. And as our radical connection with the very foundation of reality who is God, contemplative life is indispensable to us.

That we are conscious of ourselves and of the world means we are made for contemplation. It’s the seed that needs to grow, blossom and bear fruit. It’s the seed that needs to realize its full potentials. Let’s not frustrate or abort it.

We are equipped for it because we have the spiritual faculties of knowing and loving, our intellect and will, that go beyond the appearances of things, beyond the sensible aspects of things.

With our intellect and will, we penetrate into the very essence of things, establish relationships and form and develop our life according to what we choose to know and love. We need to realize more deeply that our most important relationship is that with God. All other relations should flow from that.

We need to learn how to blend our active life with a contemplative lifestyle as well. To be sure, this combination corresponds the fullness of our humanity. We are meant to be both  active and contemplative. It’s a both/and not an either/or affair.

These two basic dimensions of our life should work in tandem rather than at odds with each other.

Of course, if we have to study the history of the different schools of spirituality, we can notice not only a distinction but a division, a split between active life and contemplative life, life in the world and life away from it.

One either has to be a layman, which for quite a time, was considered a second-class citizen in the eyes of the Church, or be a priest or nun or a consecrated person if he wanted to be serious with his spiritual life.

I suppose that’s an understandable consequence of our human condition that has to develop in stages. We tend to be quite simplistic and black-and-white in mentality in the beginning, until after some time, when we know things better and have gained more experience, that realize we have to be more nuanced and more integrative of elements formerly thought as contraries.

Especially today, when we are in a better position to consider the full range of our human needs and aspirations, we have to realize that we cannot afford to continue with this dichotomy between active and contemplative life. We have to learn to be both. We have to learn how to be immersed in the world and be with God at the same time.

As a corollary to that, we need to know how to distinguish and at the same time link the material and spiritual aspects of our life, the natural and the supernatural, the mundane and the sacred, etc.

This, of course, will require a lot training, which should be pursued on the assumption that we always ask for the grace of God, for nothing prospers without asking for his grace.

For one, we need to learn this skill of turning our work, both big and small, into prayer and an abiding conversation with God.

If we are to be consistent to our faith that our life is supposed to be a life with God, then we have to know how to make our daily affairs an occasion for keeping a living relationship with God.

There should be a streaming awareness that we are with God  even when we are doing the most mundane activities. This is the goal that we should try to reach, overcoming what separates our life from the life of God. While it’s true that there is distinction between the two, there’s supposed to be unity between them.

This affirmation has basis. It’s not gratuitous. It is founded on the truth that God made us his image and likeness, and children of his, meant to participate in his very own life. That’s his will. That’s the reality.

In the first place, God is everywhere. We don’t have to look far to find him, since he is at the very core of our being. If we keep ourselves humble and simple, allowing the faith to work in us, we will realize that even in our inmost thoughts and feelings, we will always find him. We may not totally understand him, but we know he is with us.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 13:38