Does the title seem to be a contradiction? A paradox? It is actually one of the truest statements one can contemplate.
What is Contemplation?
We as human beings recognize our spiritual capabilities. We can even think about and analyze what we are thinking about. (You know it’s true!). In the busyness of life, though, we forget to actually consider what it is that we think about and care about, and whether we are growing in this spiritual capacity of our rational soul.
Oftentimes one of my sweet daughters will look at our beloved dog, Lily, and say, “I wonder what she is thinking about?”
“Nothing, really,” I reply.
It’s not all bad. Lily is a creature of instinct and habit. She is pre-programmed to do many things, most especially to be our beloved companion. She has learned the ropes of living in our home, and she brings joy to us because she belongs and she knows it. It is part of her programming to respond to us and to please us. And in a similar way to humans, she has grown attachments to particular people in our home. She “knows” who takes her for walks, who feeds her, which one of us is ok with face kisses, and who’s the boss. She doesn’t think about or ponder things, however. All of her actions are a result of instinct and training; she doesn’t make true choices.
Something the pandemic is doing, I believe, is helping us to learn the value of rest and communion. As I use the word communion, I mean, in particular, community; but it goes much deeper than that. Communion is more that being “part of the pack,” which is what Lily knows. It is the spiritual knowledge of being a part of something, or Someone, greater than ourselves. This capacity of the human person is not a result of training or millions of years of evolution. There is only one Source of this ability — our Creator.
I believe that we are being drawn to God through these trials — through any trials, for that matter. But this pandemic is a worldwide calling by our Creator to live in the eternal now. We do this in restful silence, recalling the power within ourselves, the gift that has been freely given, the Gift that is the Spirit of God that has been breathed into us by our Creator. This gift is the life-force that propels us to act, to love, and to live in communion with our neighbor.
What I have described above can be known naturally by any human person. Anyone. The Buddhists know it. The folks at the AA meetings know it. The Athenians to whom St. Paul preached knew of it (Acts 17:22-31). When he proclaimed that their “unknown god” was Jesus Christ, the God-man who became one of us, Who forgave all of our sins, and brought us eternal, supernatural life through His death and Resurrection, they were given the Truth and the choice to believe.
The truth of what we know by nature, (the truth of a power greater than ourselves), has been revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the Eternal Now. He lives within us. He is our capacity to love. He is our peace.
The seed of contemplation of this truth is planted within every human person. It grows with our recognition, our attunement, our Yes; our decision to sit in silence, patiently, and wait for God to reveal His truth of His unending love for us. When we combine this with His revelation in Sacred Scripture, the Truth can be known in our hearts.
Start with 10 minutes in the morning, contemplating the Eternal Now. Jesus.