Archive for contemplation

Thinking well




To think well is to serve God in the interior court: To have a mind composed of Divine Thoughts, and set in frame, to be like Him within. To conceive aright and to enjoy the world, is to conceive the Holy Ghost, and to see His Love: which is the Mind of the Father. And this more pleaseth Him than many Worlds, could we create as fair and great as this. For when you are once acquainted with the world, you will find the goodness and wisdom of God so manifest therein, that it was impossible another, or better should be made. Which being made to be enjoyed, nothing can please or serve Him more, than the Soul that enjoys it. For that Soul doth accomplish the end of His desire in Creating it.


Thomas Traherne (1636? – 1674), Centuries of Meditation, (First Century, 10).

Overflowing joy

God does not give his joy to us for ourselves alone, and if we could possess him for ourselves alone we would not possess him at all. Any joy that does not overflow from our souls and help other men to rejoice in God does not come to us from God. (But do not think that you have to see how it overflows into the souls of others. In the economy of his grace, you may be sharing his gifts with someone you will never know until you get to heaven.)

If we experience God in contemplation, we experience Him not for ourselves alone but also for others.


Thomas Merton from New Seeds of Contemplation, I-5, quoted in The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism, Bernard McGinn, ed.

Touching joy


…the essence of our nature is to touch
the joy from which creation comes.


From “Ordinary Love” by eraquinas (Aquinas Woodworth)
via NextScribe

A heart bright as a mirror


Thought for a beautiful spring morning…


A heart that would contemplate must be bright as a mirror, shimmer like some still stretch of water crystal clear, so that in it and through it the mind may see itself, as in and through a mirror, an image in the image of God.  The heart that covets the sight of God as in a mirror must keep itself free from cares, from harmful, unnecessary and even necessary ones.  It must keep itself ever alert through reading, meditation and prayer.  Blessed are the pure of heart; they shall see God.  May he grant that we do so. Amen.


Isaac of Stella (d. 1169)
English Cistercian
translated by Hugh McCaffery

From In the School of Love: An Anthology of Early Cistercian Texts, selected and annotated by Edith Scholl, Cistercian Publications, 2000.

God’s presence, continued

When he came to me, he never made known his coming by any signs, not by sight, not by sound, not by touch. It was not by any movement of his that I recognized his coming; it was not by any of my senses that I perceived he had penetrated to the depths of my being. Only by the movement of my heart did I perceive his presence; and I knew the power of his might because my faults were put to flight and my human yearnings brought into subjection. I have marveled at the depth of his wisdom when my secret faults have been revealed and made visible; at the very slightest amendment of my way of life I have experienced his goodness and mercy; in the renewal and remaking of the spirit of my mind, that is of my inmost being, I have perceived the excellence of his glorious beauty, and when I contemplate all these things I am filled with awe and wonder at his manifold greatness.

                                                                     –Bernard of Clairvaux


On the Song of Songs 40:91-92, excerpted in In the School of Love: An Anthology of Early Cistercian Texts, selected and annotated by Edith Scholl, OCSO.