The Contemplative Life

I’ve always been intrigued by the writings of monks and priests—Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, Brother Lawrence. Manning used to spend months alone in a cave, with no companion except God, and though part of me cringes at the idea of such solitude, another part of me understands it. I live continually with a relentless longing to be with God every day, all day—to “splash around in His heart,” as a friend who now lives in heaven described it. I can think of no better way to spend a minute or an hour, a day or week or lifetime, than in connection with God—sometimes talking, sometimes silent, but always in His Presence, always listening, always aware of His nearness.

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I thank the Lord for a husband who’s more than happy to take second place in my life, who doesn’t doubt my absolute love for him while also making ample room for my madness for God. Kenny doesn’t blink an eye when I crawl into my prayer closet or pull on my running shoes and head to the park because I can’t go another minute without getting alone with God. He takes it in stride when I talk aloud to Jesus, though sometimes he has to ask, “Who are you talking to?”—knowing the answer could go either way.

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I used to find the verse “Pray without ceasing” confusing: How could a person possibly get anything done if all she did all day was clasp her hands together, close her eyes, and intercede for the sick? But there’s nothing impossible about that verse at all! To pray without ceasing is simply to cultivate a constant awareness of Jesus, to converse with Him with the ease of one who talks to a best friend, to develop the ability to see Him everywhere. There’s no striving in this kind of life; in fact, if you’re trying to white-knuckle your way into His presence, give it up. You need only to lean back into Him because He’s already there, within you and around you. Dare to see, taste, and hear Him right where you are, right now. Practice His presence, and one day soon you’ll realize you’ve spent the whole day tuned into the heartbeat of Jesus.

That is the contemplative life.

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3 thoughts on “The Contemplative Life

  1. Oftentimes, I have been able to convince myself that I was walking and talking to him daily. I read HIS word and repeated it back to myself, so I believed that I was faithful in my walk with him. I remembered and understood the message.
    When my faithful bubble burst and I needed interception to reshape my heart to his desire and not mine, I had to take it to a place where there were no others. A mile back in the woods, away from other people, sitting on a creek bank begging, pleading for mercy, WE began the process of healing 40 years of pain and suffering.
    WE, for I was not alone on the journey and knew without a doubt who was holding my hand and healing my heart. For three months, WE awakened to watch the sunrise and prayed our way through the beginning of each day. WE listened to the sounds of HIS many creatures and with his arms wrapped tightly around me, I began my walk anew. Like a small toddler learning to balance, HE held my hand and held me up when I stumbled.
    Those three months were a very special gift and although I know the direction, there are times when HE guides me, still to the pathway I am to follow.. Reading, remembering and repeating scripture is not the same as knowing HIM in the intimate depths of your heart

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