How does Contemplation fit into the Consecration to Jesus through Mary?


#1

In the St. Louis de Montfort Method of Consecrating one’s self to Jesus through Mary, what happens if at some point one feels called to a more imageless form of prayer such as Contemplative prayer? What then does one do with their devotion to Our Lady and the path one was following accoding to it?

If Our Lord Himself calls us to Contemplative Prayer, should we not abandon all other methods and paths?


#2

Any contemplating is to take in the “life” “love” and acts of that person.
If you wish to contemplate on the life and love/acts of Mary then you might think about your life and contemplate on how it fits iin with the same as Mary. It can be like the book “the imitation of Christ”. you contemplate then imitate Mary, the same as we are asked to imitate Jesus.
For me to lead a life in the Carmelite way specially the “little way” of St Therese I read the books of compared them with Jesus words, then I thought of how I could imitate these ways and found many ways that led me to become close to Jesus through denying the flesh.

Godbless


#3

Littleone, I think you are referring to meditation, and the OP is asking about infused contemplation.


#4

… what happens if at some point one feels called to a more imageless form of prayer such as Contemplative prayer? What then does one do with their devotion to Our Lady and the path one was following accoding to it?

Nothing changes re one’s devotion to Mary, because formal prayers such as the rosary, litany, Memorare, etc, should still be prayed. You might see a difference in the quality of these devotions, since the heart is praying them more contemplatively, rather than mentally completing the quota of words.

If Our Lord Himself calls us to Contemplative Prayer, should we not abandon all other methods and paths?

No. Those who obligate themselves to pray the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, will continue to pray it, as well as their other private devotions of choice. And it is very important not to neglect study of scripture and other spiritual reading.

The big difference in contemplation is that the person has been called by God away from using spiritual discursive meditation, where one reads a passage, lets the imagination flow regarding it, and talks to God about it prayerfully. There may often be a sweetness in this prayer exercise that spurs us on to continuing the practice daily. Sometimes, the very sweetness in our talks with God underlies our unconscious motive to return to it.

St. Teresa used a good analogy of peeling an orange. Each act of going to meditation removes a part of the rind so that we may savor the fruit within. What happens when the rind is all removed, and we attempt to take the rind off, but it is no longer there? Frustration. This is when many are called to a different form of prayer called contemplation, where the work of removing the rind is already done, and the understanding and imagination no longer desires to ‘work’. When they come to prayer, they savor the orange immediately, and have no desire to use the former preliminary steps.

Prayer has become simple, almost wordless, using an occasional short expression of love to stay focused. The key is that the person is able to rest quietly and fully attentive to God, and finds it distasteful to its spirit when it tries to meditate as formerly. This is what we call ‘active contemplation’ because the person is doing the work of resting in God. While in that state of prayerfulness, God may grant ‘infused’ contemplation which is His pure gift, and is rather rarely given at this stage; some may never be granted this at all, as God wills.

We need to keep in mind, that whenever we are able to contemplate God in restful attentiveness, do so. But there are going to be times when we need to rekindle the spark of love through resuming meditation, not with the motive of finding sweetness, but rather out of devoted love, *giving *to Him, rather than receiving. We never go from point A to point B as an automatic cessation of meditation to begin contemplation. There are usually intervals of both.

God will help the soul and guide it, as He has guided many saints in history who did not have books or internet. If anyone does not experience this abiding attentiveness to God, the continual inability to meditate, and a general distaste for the things the world holds dear, then it is not time to abandon meditation.


#5

Very nicely said, Joysong :slight_smile:

Dave


#6

Thank you, JoySong, and those who have taken the time to reply to my Post today. One never knows how the words of others might release within one’s self an understanding even beyond what the actual words had inteneded. I see in the words of JoySong, the power of the Holy Spirit at work.

Sometimes, (and I have come to understand this as inteneded by Our Lord to teach me to reach out in humility to others more wise and gifted than I), my mind hits a wall and I must reach out to others. As I read JoySong’s Post, it was like a Cloud was lifted and it all became clear.

I spent the day re-reading the Book on True devotion to Jesus through Mary, and I must admit that of all the things I had underlined from the last reading of it, today there were many NEW underlinings, to which I attribute the Graces I received from today’s posts. So, Thank You, JoySong, and ALL of you for your kind efforts on my behalf. Theresa


#7

Two words my dictionary tell me that mean contemplate are, meditate or reflect. However you might tell me what the term “infused” means, please.
What i mean is this. To reflect on the person of (say Mary) and contemplate on how you think God is speaking to you about her way of life and where you can allow God to change your life in following Jesus through the way of this person (in your case Mary). In my case it was St Therese the little flower, even though I am male God wants me to lead a life on “littleness”.
Godbless


#8

Littleone,

I think Becky advised you well when she thought you were using a less sufficient word. There is a word in the dictionary that I think explains well what meditation is, and that is “ruminate” – meaning to chew. A cow, after grazing, will bring forth its food again and chew its cud. I think it is a pretty good analogy, and when we remember that Mary ‘kept all these things in her heart’, no doubt she reflected many times and meditated on the words and deeds of her Son.

But that is not what authors generally mean by contemplation. The word means to gaze upon, so when we ‘lift up our hearts’ to God and simply ‘be’ with Him, and are able to sustain this loving glance for a substantial period of time without needing to meditate, then it is called contemplative prayer. Many of us have contemplative moments, but in the reespect of being called to this prayer form continuously, one must have advanced sufficiently through the earlier stages of prayer. I must go to Mass, but if more thoughts come later, I will continue.

God bless…
Carole


#9

Hope you don’t mind this note please,

In my case it was St Therese the little flower, even though I am male God wants me to lead a life on “littleness” do away with human elements of materialism that would in my sense give me cause to relate to the flesh.
In giving me this gift He allowed St Therese to become very close to me for around a year. It was in this time that as I read her life through people coming to me with the right book at the right time from many places.I found my place and it was in allowing Jesus to do with me what He wanted which happened because He gave me the graces to do this.
At work (alone at night) I would have the wholeness of god come down on me that would cause me to cry in uncontrollable tears. The presence was too more than I had ever known and it came over months. If i tried to go into one of the lodges at times I would be told to stay out so that the presence would stay. I tried to ring my wife and was told no this has not finished, it seemed that Jesus was telling me that He just wanted to love me. I have never felt this before but it all started through my just looking up to the stars seeiing the love of God in them and praising Him crying with joy that He would love us this much. I would relate back to the words of St Therese of how when she could not do something Jesus did it in a second.
I soaked into these words the life of Therese gave my life to Jesus the way she did and searched for even more ways of denying my humanness that I could. I have pure relict’s of St Therese that a priest gave me.
I don’t have the wording to cover what happens in my life, but I hope you understand, and this helps you, it is a little piece of that time of beginning which carries on even today.
To me this has been contemplative maybe Joysong might help with explaining this, please

Godbless


#10

pureDzire

If Our Lord Himself calls us to Contemplative Prayer, should we not abandon all other methods and paths?

No we should not abandon all other methods of prayer, for all open us to contemplation, if we pray them, contemplatively and that is, in the presence of God, dwelling with in us.

The Rosary is itself, a method of contemplative prayer, if you pray it as you should.

The Holy Eucharist, is contemplative prayer, if you receive as you should.

In all, it is not the prayer methods that bring us to contemplation, but rather, it is God who does it.

Jim


#11

This beautiful prayer of St. Patrick that we sometimes sing at mass may be the best way to explain the contemplative life of one who has progressed to this stage of prayer.

Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I think whoever reflects on this will readily grasp that the person lives and moves and has their being in Christ Jesus, and most of the time, is aware of His holy presence with a simple wordless gaze. Holy Mother St. Teresa once believed that she had to go apart a lot in order to maintain the ‘presence of Christ’ … but God graced her even in the midst of activity, so she saw “how little this (going into solitude) had to do with it.” How few are able to do this profitably to their spirits, however, unless they have put all things under their feet and live in union with Jesus. Another prayer that speaks to me comes from our liturgy:

Through HIM, with HIM, and in HIM, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours, Almighty Father, Amen!


#12

I don’t have much understanding of much but I think I grasp your expression in these words you wrote.

Through HIM, with HIM, and in HIM, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours, Almighty Father, Amen!
_If you seek this thing or that for your own pleasure, you will never be at rest; in every place, something you dislike will be found.

In how I understand you are saying “be still and know that i am God”
" lend not to your own understanding" be not controlled by this world", “be in the world but not of it”

And lastly as St John said “I must become NOTHING that He can become all”

A person once said to me “you are strange Wayne, you see God in blade of Grass” maybe one day I might get to the point you mention. When my eyes get to the point where they see only Jesus and my heart is filled only with His mercy, and there is no other but He who made me, maybe then when He has finished molding me to how it best is His wish. Maybe then, I don’t know.

Thank you
Godbless.


#13

Well, Wayne, I was speaking with the words written by saints, so it may seem a little out of reach for most of us, but we are encouraged that God sees the intent in our heart and and the love with which we try to serve Him, even in the most trivial or menial things we do. Love will win His heart and move Him to grant us many graces.

It matters little whether we are on the bottom stair or the highest rung of the ladder approaching heaven, providing we are climbing in order to serve Him. A lamb is just as lovely being a lamb, even though it is not yet a sheep. Likewise, a rosebud has its own beauty, even though it is not in full bloom. The only difference is the time factor.


#14

I know, and thank you, it fills me with a joy that there is a space for all and that He has not finished at all and so the love of God goes on changing me and us all. This has me at a place where my life is in front of me and relating to changes that are happening and are to happen. So thank you for being an instrument in this. As I mentioned I am very simple and have not much understanding of terminology, it takes much juggling around to have understanding settle in my mind.
Amen for simplicity, it helps me become more and more little to not have the world but to have others teach me the simpleness of God’s loving ways.

Thank you Carol, so much
Godbless
I


#15

Carole, this is a pure pleasure to read and follow along :thumbsup:

Thanks so much :slight_smile:
Dave


#16

Being away from the forum for a whole day, I am delighted to read this thread.
Carole, your explanation is so well said and so helpful.

Thanks!


#17

…beautifully said, Carole!.. a really beautiful and insightful post here :thumbsup: …Blessings and regards…Barb:)


#18

Hi littleone,

Joysong does an excellent job of describing and advising on contemplative prayer; I don’t have the experience to explain as well as she does. But, I’ll attempt to give a definition as I understand it. And if I get it all wrong, perhaps Joysong or DBT will straighten me out. :smiley:

In everyday use, the terms meditation and contemplation are synonyms, but in prayer, infused contemplation is different from meditation. Meditation is as you described in your post above - prayer that involves reflecting on the lives of Jesus and Mary, passages of Scripture, or other spiritual reading.

Infused contemplation is a gift from God, and not something we can achieve through methods and techniques. One may receive it after persevering in daily prayer and sincerely working towards living a holy life. It is a kind of wordless and image-less beholding; the closest thing I can compare the experience to is when you see something incredibly beautiful and you pause to absorb the vision with speechless awe. Generally in contemplation you don’t see or hear anything; you just know in your heart the presence of God within you and surrounding you. This type of prayer typically lasts 15-30 minutes.

Here’s how Fr. Thomas Dubay defines infused contemplation in his book, Fire Within:

“. . .contemplation is a divinely originated, general, nonconceptual, loving awareness of God. At times this is a delightful, loving attention, at times a dry, purifying desire, at other times a strong thirsting for Him. In the beginnings it is usually delicate and brief, but as it develops it becomes burning, powerful, absorbing, prolonged. Always it is tranformative of the person.”

-From Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel On Prayer, p. 70


#19

Always it is tranformative of the person."

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Important…the yardstick of any sort of growth anywhere in the spiritual life is growth in virtue/love of God, which expresses itself in love of neighbour…
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#20

So now the next step or first step I think would be to live a life of self denial, turning away from the world, putting those things away that would become a distraction from hearing God speaking, so that I can listen to our Lord speaking, and living in contemplation inline with “little acts” of self denial.
How do you think this fits?

Godbless


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