Thursday, January 28, 2010

Contempl-action

There's a line in today's first reading that just fits so well with today's saint (Thomas Aquinas). Following on yesterday's prophecy of a dynasty or "house", "the King went in and sat before the Lord." That contemplative "going in" and just sitting in the Lord's presence is what King David and St Thomas had in common. What we find in the Psalms and in the Summa is the "contemplata" of these two men of God, according to the Dominican ideal "contemplata tradere aliis" (to hand on to others what has been contemplated).
The contemplative dimension of Christian life--any Christian life, not just the consecrated religious life--seems to have gotten relegated to the notion of an option, but it isn't. We can't live even a fully human life without the dimension of reflectiveness.
How do you protect or carve out a space for that "sitting with the Lord" in your daily life? Is it with a morning coffee ritual? A prayerful commute? A prayer corner in the house that you really use as such?

2 comments:

Regina Colleen said...

I heard a wonderful podcast from the Aquinas Institute about 'active contemplation.' The speaker said that if we want a good example of how necessary active contemplation is, just look at Mary and Martha. We give Martha a bad rap for being busy, but the reality is, if Marth hadn't done her part, no one would have eaten. So our faith life must be about balancing Mary and Martha. There is time to sit at the Lord's feet, and there is a time to serve the Lord. Right after I listened to this, I bought St. Mary Magdalene medal. I was shocked and delighted to see that it is a dual medal - St. Martha is on the other side. It is my constant reminder.

marshmk said...

I really like this: "We can't live even a fully human life without the dimension of reflectiveness." I do not remember who but I seem to recall one of the Desert Fathers who said that to know oneself is also to begin to know God.

Reflection should lead us to action and action back to reflection. To answer the questions at the end of your post: I sit in silence 30-40 minutes every morning, same time, same chair, silently repeating, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me."

Thank you for a thoughtful post.

Peace, Mike+