In the last post, one sees that Thomas is quoting Boethius, the Scriptures and Gregory the Great. Thomas is calling up the long tradition of the Church to help us understand contemplation.
Contemplation is not for beginners. I repeat the passage:
The contemplative life consists in a certain liberty of mind. For Gregory says (Hom. iii in Ezech.) that "the contemplative life obtains a certain freedom of mind, for it thinks not of temporal but of eternal things." And Boethius says (De Consol. v, 2): "The soul of man must needs be more free while it continues to gaze on the Divine mind, and less so when it stoops to bodily things." Wherefore it is evident that the active life does not directly command the contemplative life, but prescribes certain works of the active life as dispositions to the contemplative life; which it accordingly serves rather than commands. Gregory refers to this when he says (Hom. iii in Ezech.) that "the active life is bondage, whereas the contemplative life is freedom."
The liberty of mind has come from the purification found in the two stages of purifying of the senses and of the spirit, found in the Dark Night of the Soul.
This happens several stages after the purification of sin and sinful habits.
Note the chart posted last Thursday.
Now, John of the Cross plainly states, as I noted yesterday, that some people get upset with those who pursue this life of constant communion with God.
Those who are enslaved to the bondage of trivia want to bring everyone else down to their level.
I was struggling with someone in authority being mean to me last year. A priest said, simply, "Focus on Christ". At first, I was upset with a phrase I thought was not only naive, but underestimating the problem. I was like Martha, complaining about my sister in Christ. I did not see that I could have been forgetting about her, and, instead, concentrating on the one thing which mattered-Christ's Love.
Then, I saw the soundness of this advice. If I kept focused on Christ, I no longer saw the meanness, and I was united in the Passion, as Christ was treated very badly. But, I only had to look at Christ, not at my own pathetic suffering. What resulted, after a long time, was a quiet joy.
This is why one must surround one's self with those who love God and want to live in that love.
One of the most horrible distractions is money, and this may be counteracted with trust in Divine Providence, as noted above in the first quotation from Gregory.
I have left the blue links on in New Advent for your benefit.
To be continued....