Contemplation and "Resting in the Spirit"


Contemplation is “gazin on the beauty of the Lord.” On the book “The Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross, we read that we continue to be pruned and in the stage of purificaiton of the soul. The person contemplating is trusting and letting go of all the senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) thinking of nothing and staying at peace WAITING on God in the most loving way. In Charismatics Movement, one would get slain or “dormition in the spirit” after being prayerd over. The person would lay and REST in the presence of the Lord for a long time…and loving trusting God beyond the senses and mind.

QUESTION: If it is through peace of mind and feedom of the soul that God is working in the soul, IS RESTING or “Dormition in the Spirit” the same as “contemplative?.”

Thank you all in advance :blush:


Why do you ask? :slight_smile:

I can only offer a personal opinion and my simple and short answer is no. Though it appears similar as you put it, the circumstance on how they happen respectively differs.

One is while you pray, the other is while you are being prayed over. Though not always be, slain in the spirit does occur while you pray alone; in that case they are the same.

The phenomenon of slain in the spirit involves the physical ‘giving way’, a weakness of certain part of the body that’s beyond your control and you just succumb to it and fall or slain. You are not in a trance or unconscious but too weak to stand and you surrender to it and all the while in a conscious state.

I believe there are a few stages of ‘contemplative’, the degree depending on how deep is the person in prayer or being able to avoid distraction. Slain in the spirit seems to be caused by external activity (in this case attributed to the Holy Spirit).


Generally infused contemplation is given when a soul has become disposed to receive it, usually by praying regularly, practicing the virtues and avoiding sin, even deliberate venial sin.

I suspect what is going on during “dormition in the spirit” is more about enjoying the consolations that one may have received than it is about true infused contemplation. Often people become attached to such consolations and don’t even realize they’re seeking the sweetness rather than God. The dark night of sense is given in the initial stages of contemplation to purify us of this self-seeking in prayer.


Charismatics like me (and most of the Charismatics I’ve encountered in my life) are guilty of spiritual gluttony. This is one of the imperfections that I have to overcome. I get trapped by spritual delights and pleasures and indulge in them more for reasons of spiritual enjoyment then for true purity and purification of my soul. Seeking spiritual delights by concentrating so hard to receive spiritual pleasure alone makes a mockery of God. After all, the most important blessings of the Sacraments are the invisible graces which God gives. God often holds back the delightful and tangible blessings so that we may look to God more keenly with eyes of faith. No wonder contemplation is the highest form of prayer.

Thank you all…thank you Becky.

closed #5

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit