Tag Archives: Contemplation

ADVENTURES OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

Adventures of the Spiritual Life

by Judith Lawrence (reprinted with permission June 22, 2011)

“Recollection,” says Evelyn Underhill, “is the traditional term by which mystical writers define the voluntary concentration, a first collecting or gathering in of the attention of the self to its most hidden cell. That self is as yet unacquainted with the strange plane of silence which so soon becomes familiar to those who attempt even the lowest activities of the contemplative life, where the self is released from [constant thought], and the noises of the world are never heard, and the great adventures of the spirit take place.” Mysticism Page 212.

We have to gather ourselves in to the centre of our being in order to prepare ourselves for the contemplative life. This is where we find the silent place where God dwells in us. Silence is not a familiar place for many of us but as we seek to be with God silence becomes a sought after and familiar venue.

First we must turn off the outward noises that may surround us—the radio, the T.V., the telephone, the cell phone—we get so used to these being a part of our life that we may be afraid we might miss something if we turn these things off. But, when our prayer time is finished and we turn these sound makers back on we will soon catch up on any missed communications.

During our tryst with God, even our thoughts need to be quieted. We may not be aware of how much our brain chatters on in continuous thought as we go about our tasks, but when we come to be with God in contemplation we become very aware of how our thoughts get in the way of just being with God.

Don’t fret about it; just keep returning to the silence where you desire to be with God and God desires to be with you. It will happen; it takes preparation, time, and practice.

Judith Lawrence

Judith is a Professional member of The Word Guild and author of two non-fiction books, Prayer Companion: A Treasury of Personal Meditation, and Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years, as well as one book of mystical poetry, Grapes from the Vine. Judith writes a monthly meditation, which can be found on her website: www.judithlawrence.ca.  Judith’s latest spiritual book, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey is now available. You can purchase it through Wipf and Stock Publishers.

OPENING THE DOOR TO LOVE

Opening the Door to Love

by Judith Lawrence

“Though the state which contemplatives call the prayer of quiet is a common condition of mystical attainment, it is not by itself mystical at all. It is a state of preparation: a way of opening the door. That which comes in when the door is opened will be that which we truly and passionately desire. …The true contemplative, coming to this plane of stillness, does not desire ‘extraordinary favours and visitations’, but the privilege of breathing for a little while the atmosphere of Love.” Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism Page 219

What a wonderful gift we are given when we spend some moments in utter quiet and stillness in the presence of Our Lord. When we simply sit still and quiet, waiting in expectation, the door of our soul is opened by the Holy Spirit. As we continue to sit quietly, then it is that we receive the gift—the atmosphere of Love and Peace, surrounding and filling us with blessing.

Thank you God for this most inestimable benefit.

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Judith Lawrence

Judith is a Professional member of The Word Guild and author of two non-fiction books, Prayer Companion: A Treasury of Personal Meditation, and Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years, as well as one book of mystical poetry, Grapes from the Vine. Judith writes a monthly meditation, which can be found on her website: www.judithlawrence.ca.  Judith’s latest spiritual book, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey is now available. You can purchase it through Wipf and Stock Publishers.

PRAYER OF QUIET OR SIMPLICITY

Prayer of Quiet or Simplicity

by Judith Lawrence

 

Jesus said, “When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private” Matt 6:6a (New Living Translation).

 “Out of the deliberate practice of loving attention to God, the contemplative glides on to a plane of perception for which human speech has few equivalents . . . As Recollection becomes deeper, the self slides into a certain dim yet vivid consciousness of the Infinite. The door tight shut on the sensual world, it becomes aware that it is immersed in a more real world which it cannot define. It rests quietly in this awareness: quite silent, utterly at peace” (Mysticism Evelyn Underhill, Page 214).

Do you wonder what this prayer of Quiet or Simplicity that Evelyn Underhill speaks of is good for? Is it only for the satisfaction of the one who prays? Is there some good that it does for the world?

Such prayer of simplicity and quietness, I believe, is first of all for the praise and adoration of God; secondly, such prayer is to bring the one who prays into a closer relationship with God, so that the pray-er becomes more like God, becomes holy as God is holy; and this growth in holiness and oneness with God is for the purpose of the healing of the world. We first have to be healed in God’s presence in order that we can help to bring God’s healing to the world.

The contemplative prayer that Evelyn Underhill speaks about does not involve words but stillness, quiet, and peace. We become filled with God’s quiet presence and that quiet presence of God gets transmitted through us to those with whom we are in contact—not by anything that we say to them or do for them, but by what we are becoming by being in God’s presence.

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Judith Lawrence

Judith is a Professional member of The Word Guild and author of two non-fiction books, Prayer Companion: A Treasury of Personal Meditation, and Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years, as well as one book of mystical poetry, Grapes from the Vine. Judith writes a monthly meditation, which can be found on her website: www.judithlawrence.ca.  Judith’s latest spiritual book, Highway of Holiness: Soul Journey is now available. You can purchase it through Wipf and Stock Publishers.

CONTEMPLATION – FINDING A SPACIOUS PLACE WITHIN

Contemplation—Finding a Spacious Place Within

by Judith Lawrence

As God promised to give the people of Israel a spacious country in which to dwell (Gen 13: 14–17), so God promises us a spacious place within—and that’s the place we call the soul. Richard Rohr, Simplicity, P. 93.

Contemplation, Rohr says, is the search for a wide-open space. P. 98

The soul calls out for God and, the more it does so, the greater becomes the soul’s capacity to receive the grace of God. The more the grace of God pours into one’s soul, the greater becomes the spacious place within, where God would make his dwelling place.

As God desires to be at one with us, so we desire to be at one with God. Contemplative prayer is the staying-power that enables us to be at one with God.

As one sits in quiet stillness, gazing with love upon the Holy One, one can almost feel the expansion of one’s soul as it receives the essence of God’s grace. Such a generous God we have and, in return, we cannot help but respond in gratitude.

I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph 3:16–19

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Judith Lawrence

Judith is a Professional member of The Word Guild and author of two non-fiction books, Prayer Companion: A Treasury of Personal Meditation, and Glorious Autumn Days: Meditations for the Wisdom Years, as well as one book of mystical poetry, Grapes from the Vine. Judith writes a monthly meditation, which can be found on her website: www.judithlawrence.ca.