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Sunday, 30 November 2014

To Listen for Christ in Active Contemplation

If you, dear readers, have ever been in love, you understand this scenario. You go to a large gathering, like the opening of an art show, or a talk, and you know the one you love will be there. You go because you are being true to yourself, and would go whether he or she was going or not going to be there.

Hundreds of people are in the room, talking, moving about, but you are listening, listening for that special voice, the voice of the person you love so much. Now, you almost give up, when, suddenly you hear his or her voice, and see that person out of the corner of your eye across the room. When you hear the voice of the beloved, you experience a thrill of both anticipation and fear. Sometimes, one hears in a peace which passes human understanding. This is the peace of sacrificial love, which expects nothing in return for love. One lets love be love.

If you are a man, you can approach the beloved. If you are a woman, you must wait. Sometimes, the beloved never comes up to you, but you still love, in hope, until the day arrives when no more meetings are possible.

Waiting for God to speak is very much like this scene. One is on a bus, in a restaurant, at a gathering, and suddenly, one hears the Voice of the Beloved. Will He approach you? Will He make you wait? Will He talk to others and yet, know you are waiting to be approached?

Waiting for God is the core of active contemplation. One puts one's self in the position to listen, trying to be as passive and receptive as possible. Sometimes God makes one wait for a long time, until the Word is received in a purity of heart, mind, and soul. That is the essence of the Dark Night.

God's loving attention demands that one sets aside one's reasons for loving and merely loves.

One waits for God. He is, of course, always there, but many times, even for years, hides Himself until one is ready to receive Him as He really is.

And, so I wait, suffering, to hear the Voice of the Beloved, waiting for the scrap of tone, even without seeing. I wait until God decides to reveal Himself in whatever way He so desires. Sometimes I hear Him for an instant, just Him showing me that He is there, and then He is gone. Such is the Dark Night....

Such is the work of active contemplation...such is waiting for God.