WISDOM of the DESERT Chapter 5 Mindfulness or Contemplation

The Love God Lavishly Bestows on Us

“The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”

A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness “on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and “accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

“Mindfulness is the basic human ”ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”

I just read a post about post-Christianity America and how irrelevant we are to millennials and society at large.

I let out an audible ‘whew’ when he (Benjamin Sledge of “HeartSupport” started to discuss how much better Christianity will be when all the false believers die off and the Christian churches become vibrant again.

It is such a shocker and eye-opener that I have linked to it here if you are interested. It is a well-written piece.

It is also a re-affirmation of what we are reading and studying, how to let the Holy Spirit work in our prayer life and help lead us thru the dark night of the soul (if that is what we desire- it is not a requirement) so that people will Jesus living in us.

Mr. Sledge quotes Dr. Timothy Keller “we are so loved that we don’t despair when we do wrong, but so sinful that we have no right to be puffed up when we do right.” If you read the article at the link you will find that Dr. Keller has some teachings that require the historical Christian church to hesitantly approve of his gospel.

But remember Paul’s cautionary instruction in Philippians 1:18: “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,” (NIV).

We started this post by looking at the definition and explanation of Mindfulness.

A Google search will display a graph on how much and how fast Mindfulness has grown in recent years. It is astonishing. The Veteran’s Administration even has an application for your phone to make it easier to use.

But I would ask you (without looking back at definitions of contemplation:

Which do you prefer in your life Mindfulness, or contemplation or both?

Why?

2. Which do you think is more necessary for today’s society?

Why?

3. Which do you think would have the biggest, best impact on today’s society if a majority were to start practicing it?

Why?

St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross were good friends

To continue:

“A Taste of Silence” by Father Carl Arico

“The classic meaning of contemplation is “resting in God.”

“There as two types of contemplation: acquired and infused.”

Father Arico goes into much detail describing all of the terms involved. But I will leave the details to you and spell out as plainly as I can the terms I will be using.

Father Arico states:

Acquired contemplation is the effort we put in under the prompting of the Spirit to rest in the presence of God.

a. This can be concentrative or receptive

i. Examples of concentrative prayer are discursive meditation, visual meditation and affective prayer

ii. In concentrative we use our faculties (imagination, intellect, will) to produce the effect of resting in the presence of God.

iii. “Examples of receptive could be the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner), Christian Zen prayer, or Christian meditation-the repetition of a mantra.”

(The Jesus Prayer is an historical prayer of the Eastern Catholic churches.)

An easier way maybe with a comparison: But remember this exercise in terminology in no way has an effect on your prayer.

It is merely to acquaint you with some terms.

A. In concentrative acquired contemplation, you are concentrating, you are active

B. In receptive acquired contemplation, you don’t try to understand, you don’t try to feel anything, you surrender, you consent. If you get an insight, you let it go. You simply want to be letting everything go for the sake of resting in the Lord.

“Some people as they become more comfortable in simple prayer forms begin to feel uncomfortable with the wordiness of prayer talk. It is a process of being away from discursive prayer and meditation. This doesn’t mean it is bad to use the words and symbols of discursive prayer it just means we are maturing in prayer. We don’t stop with these prayers. They become even more meaningful. It just means there is a simplification taking place.”

Infused contemplation is a gift from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit sees the effort we are making to rest in God’s presence. We can only go so far on our own. Then the Spirit takes over and brings us to deeper rest. All prayer is a gift from God.”

Let’s look at the two opposites. In acquired contemplation, I can say ‘I did this’, ’it had this effect and I’m going to do that again.”

“With infused contemplation, all I really know is that I was there. We are moving without effort, without flaw. In the dance of prayer, we are united, one with God. From this loving union flows a loving knowledge transcending abstract conceptual knowledge. The infused quality of this loving knowledge indicates that it is wholly a gift from God and is totally beyond human capacity. No human effort can bring it about. It is pure gift.”

“Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest and paleontologist who took part in the discovery of Peking Man (in 1923–1927).

He defined the gift of the Holy Spirit this way: “To lose oneself in the unfathomable, to plunge into the inexhaustible, to find peace in the incorruptible, to give one’s deepest to him whose depths have no end.”

Now Father Arico gives us a glimpse of where he is leading us-into Centering Prayer.

“Centering prayer (receptive acquired contemplation) is a method to facilitate the development of contemplative prayer by preparing our faculties to cooperate with this gift (infused contemplation).

It is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. During the time of prayer, we consent to God’s presence and action within us.”

“Centering Prayer is preparing one to receive the gift of infused contemplation if the Spirit so chooses to do so.”

At this point, Father Arico starts exploring what is meant by transformation. In Scripture we hear about a “new creation”, “born again”, “I live now not I but Christ lives in me”, “unless you are born again of water and the Holy Spirit you will not enter the kingdom of God.”

“The new life we are called to has been called “transformation” by contemporary writers.

The process of transformation simply means a complete overhaul by the Spirit within each of us.” The liturgy has a fine summation: “Through him and with Him and in Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is Yours almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen.”

God the potter continues to work in our lives. We need to look at the potter. The potter has to break the old mold in order to replace it with a new one, so we must let go of the old self and replace it with the new.”

We now have an awful tension within us- if we take only part of the message.

We see faithfulness to God as the path to peace and harmony.

But it is also a path of unrest when we must change our preconceived notions of what life is all about. You now see it means accepting the uncertainties of the journey.

Earlier I mentioned St. John of the Cross, he wrote “Dark Night of the Soul.”

“This night is God’s transforming process. The dark is our resistance when we don’t want to change. We arm wrestle with God and fight against changing with all our might.”

As we move thru this dark night, we start to feel our of control. We have felt that we have had our prayer routine scheduled and in good order. Soon the old answers aren’t working anymore. Are you falling apart? Maybe you feel like you are losing your dedication. If you are faithful to your prayer life, you will find that God is moving you into a new way of life.

“You will need to learn that you are not always in control. It does not feel that way, but it is true. Many run from this experience of brokenness. We fear it. Yet it is part of the transformation.”

These transformations are not done by us. “They are being done to us because we are open to remaining in the presence of God. We become open to become what we are called to be.”

We are probably are not even aware of the changes in our life. Other people are. Some may even mention it to us. But this is not something we are ‘working on’. But the Spirit is working on us, and in us and thru us as we begin to live out our calling.

You will notice the difference in your life. Peace will come to your spirit. Joy will come to your heart. Clarity will come to your mind.

In my experience.

Thanks for joining me.
Google Images dual blue roses
Craig Martineau

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