Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Recollection and Contemplation Part I

Transformation in Christ: Recollection and Contemplation Part 1

The following is from the Chapter True Simplicity from Transformation of Christ from Von Hildabrand, all regular text is highlighted quotes from the book, any italic are comments 

This section of "Recollection and Contemplation" is how to channel our selves in a deep minded way to Christ.

These are proposed ways to help us attain Simplicity
  • Look to be recollected
  • Contemplation itself is not ends of means
  • Need object of value and depth, like Jesus
Distraction as the inability to concentrate

In recollection, we recover our deepest orientation toward God Then only, when all else fades away for a moment, when recover our deepest, unique direction towards when we stand before Christ, saying: "Behold the handmaid of the 1:38), do we actually recover ourselves and resume identity with our innermost selves.  We must proceed to the depth in order to gain a full and adequate awareness of things, hearkening to God's ca from the depths of our being, and bringing our most intimate selves to full actuality.

Recollection may be voluntary or involuntary
Again and again we should voluntarily relinquish the turmoil of our current occupations, the pursuit of this or that concrete aim, and return to the essential that is proper to our inmost self.

Only the recollected man is fully alive
In recollecting ourselves, we empty our soul of all current concerns, and are no longer possessed by the things which fill our life we escape from the network of those autonomous systems of particular aims into which life's single situations and tasks erect themselves We face God directly, and take new departure from the Alpha and a Omega of our being.

Recollecting ourselves vs being recollected
The first is the act of recollecting ourselves, of rising towards God and recovering ourselves; of setting ourselves at a distance from all present concerns; of ordering all things before the face of God, and referring everything to the great common denominator, Christ. And the second phase is the state of being and remaining recollected. This state will have to endure, while we are attending to a concrete task, engaged in a serious conversation or some meaningful work, or performing any other activity. To be sure, we are then no longer empty of all present details or cares; we again divert our vision from God to some concrete creaturely thing, and actualize a partial aspect of our being. Yet, we do not separate ourselves from God; we do not sever connection with the profound and ultimate center of our being.

We contemplate ends, not means

 The structural difference between our attitude towards the end and towards the means is obvious. strict attitude of uti, of using something, as applied to the means within a system of action, is the exact opposite of the contemplative attitude. It embodies the specifically pragmatic way of treating an object, characterized by the fact that our proper attention belongs to something other than the object with which we are now dealing, namely, to our object in the sense of our end or purpose.

The Object of contemplation must be seen as having  great value

In all these ordinary cases, not only our attitude towards but also our attitude towards ends (though, in a formal sense, the latter implies an essentially higher appreciation) are the characteristically non-contemplative. For a second m consists precisely in this: that the object faces of contemplation dignity and importance in itself, which by virtue of as a thing of great its own may appreciably enrich our souls.

The contemplative attitude, on the hand such as other other the as the of an object of great beauty and the pure, restful joy it yields -- is free from that dynamic tension towards the future; it implies, not a hastening forward but a dwelling in the present. Contemplation represents a specifically restful attitude, in which we, free from the circumscribing function of acting as agents, actualize our entire being. Finally , contemplation contrasts  with action owing to its basic trait of receptivity.

Contemplation differs radically from relaxation 

We have just described contemplation as a reposeful attention to an object fully present; this must not be construed in the sense of crediting every reposeful or relaxed state of mind with a contemplative character. Represents spiritual activity in the most eminent sense of the word; only i is an immanent (in contraposition to a transitive) activity. All activity which in some way intervenes in the events happening outside its subject

It would be a gross error indeed to confuse contetrivial or re-creative relaxation as described above it embodies activity of the highest degree, the full. It manifests a quality of specific depth and significance. But we cannot properly understand the nature of contemplation without putting the question as to its possible objects.

Nothing considered as purely instrumental can be an object of contemplation

One cannot properly speaking, contemplate what is par excellence an arti use 
We cannot im present would clearly be out of proportion here. merse ourselves in the essence of such objects, nor can our soul rest in their embrace. The same is true of all other entities which do not possess a deep and noble content or a high value of their own.

Contemplation demands an object of value and depth 

Contemplation proper demands, as its object, either a deep general truth or an entity of high rank and value. We may visualize, in contemplation, the contingency of all created beings or the essence of the spiritual person; we may be absorbed in the contemplation of the virtue of purity or of charity. Again, we may penetrate contemplatively the soul of a beloved person, becoming aware of its full splendor and, remote from all pragmatic concerns.

In relation to a person, a form of contemplation is in which the fact that the contemplated object is also endowed with subjectivity is itself experienced in a certain definite manner We might describe this, if such a technical term be allowed I thou contemplation. It is sharply distinct from all contemplation directed to a non-personal object which, corresponding might be termed it-contemplation

The perfections in I thou contemplation 

But on the other hand, in the type we call I-thou contemplation the dialogic character of the relationship and the enrichment receive from the contemplated person The fact that the person we are contemplating by virtue of his love for us actually enters our own personality and pervades on our  own soul, confers a new dimension on the aspect communing of up, inheritance contemplation.

The perfections in It-contemplation

On the other hand, there is also (as has already been hinted) a metaphysical perfection specific to what we called it-contemplation,  we confine ourselves to objects of contemplation belonging to the realm of created things.

Sometimes contemplation intensifies our experience of a particular moment 

On the one hand, contemplation may mean a halt at a real moment in the flow of time, a "now" in which we are fully present.

In this form of the contemplative of the aspects of tranquility and timelessness, of a pure and undisturbed intellectual devotion to the inward logos of the object, are particularly preeminent.

Contemplation brings us into contact with ultimate reality 

In the first type of contemplation, then, it is the world of true and ultimate reality which enters our life; whereas, in the second it is we who emerge from our actual life into that world. The object must affect us not only with its isolated specific content, it must elevate us into the world of valid and ultimate reality. We must, in contemplation, meet that world as such, so as to acquire suddenly a comprehensive new attitude towards all things.

Perfect contemplation always implies at least an indirect reference to God 

Thus, all perfect contemplation implies an indirect reference to God. Unless it helps us to establish a contact with God, the contemplative attitude cannot attain a complete unfolding of its specific character. This does not mean that God must be its formal object, that all true contemplation must be religious contemplation proper. The contemplation we have now discussed is directed to some created entity as its formal object. Yet, even here a reference to God is necessarily implied For first, contemplation is ore than the intellectual analysis of an object or even the enjoyment of disinterested knowledge. lt requires that the object should help us to approach the world of valid and noble reality, which again involves, as a background at least, our awareness of the presence of God =

Let us turn now to contemplation in the s sense of the term Ero religious contemplation proper. The characteristics pre- viously established, naturally, hold good here. When we face God in adoration and surrender, we again realize that relinquishment of the world of purposeful processes, that halt in our vital activities, and that restful immersion which are the marks of contemplation in general; only all this happens in a more perfect way. But another important difference must be noted. Whereas in the contemplation of the created good, the different perfections of contemplation cannot be actualized simultaneously, they can be and are united in one in the contemplation of God. In our con templative surrender to the absolute Person, we experience the light of His loving glance penetrating our soul and are conscious of His personal response to our loving surrender Thus, on the one hand, what we have called "I-thou contem plation" is fully present. And yet, on the other handAhat more particularly "contemplative attitude of timeless tranquillity which we called "it contemplation" appears in equal splendor. We may dwell in God with that absolute, changeless tranquillity which is alien to the precious, condensed supreme moments in the spiritual relationship between finite personal beings joined in mutual awareness of one another od the omnipresent, who pervades all =

Saturday, January 27, 2018

How we are all part of God's Family

This reflection is based upon a chapter from book Conversation by Fancis Fernandez

Being part of the family that Jesus our Lord formed is stronger than any blood line family.  Mary the Blessed Mother help carried this out first by carrying out God's will with greater love and perfection better than anyone except Jesus himself.  Why? She accepted the Angel's message and this leads to a spiritual motherhood to her son, before her physical motherhood of her son. This is due f to her heart first, than later her body to hold Jesus physically genetically. 

Jesus is the one who established this great family of children of God.  We have immense joy of being part of this family, which again is stronger than a blood line but only to the extent we carry God's will. Saint Thomas explains that Jesus declaration of being part of his family is through a link forged by grace.  In order to have strong tie to his family, we must follow God's will because Jesus loved the will of his father.

If we want to imitate Christ, this has to be our attitude, to love what ever God wants.  God makes his will through his commandments.  the more faithfully we keep them, we will love what he wants. God's wil is also directed to the greater good if we remain more trusting and lovingly close to our God the Father.  There is a hidden providence by all of this. 

A Christian's only desire should full-fill God's will.  Prayers helps us and through our personal prayer will help us in a particular way to have that relationship with God and be more infused in his family.