One of the great problems of those who are trying to become closer to God could be called, as the Maritains do, the "reflex of the mind". Too often, through habitual sin, or even the sins of families, one reverts back to such reflexes, which stop the growth of holiness. We fall into spiritual illusions. I talk to people who are on the right path, but fall into habits of mind, like judgment, criticism, negativity, scrupulosity, spiritual sloth.
One of the most common reflexes of the mind which I have encountered since I have been back to the States has been identified by the Maritains as a psychological knee-jerk reaction involving "psychological curiosity".
Oh my, yes. Since January, I have heard numerous Catholics try and explain away sin in terms of psychological weaknesses. I left off on point four the other day regarding the descriptions and definitions of contemplation. As we continue to examine these, we see the opposite of "staring at one's navel" as we use to say in the seventies--the over examination of self. One cannot explain away sin. God will not allow us to explain ourselves when we stand before Him and see the depth of our failings. But, now, we can learn to do this type of contemplation of our nothingness and His Goodness.
Here are some more of the tidbits from the Maritains.
Point Six, "The contemplative life consists in a sort of holy leisure and repose...."
One must be still and seek solitude. God does not like rivals to His Person, His time, His ways.
Point Seven, "The contemplative life is related to divine things, and the active to human things; which is why St. Augustine says in the book De Verbis Domini: 'In the beginning was the Word, this is he to whom Mary listened: and the Word was made Flesh, this is he whom Martha served.'"
But, we can be so focused on the things of daily life, that we miss the small, still voice of God speaking to us in the midst of even chaos. To train one's mind to disregard such confusion is to break through the reflexes of the mind.
Point Eight, "The contemplative life is related to what is specifically proper to man, that is, the intellect, while the lower forces common to human and to animal life take part in the operations of the active life...."
One of my favorite psalms embodies this call-Psalm 24 DR. This is a good prayer for those in tribulation.
Verse 9 refers to those who allow God to humble them in the Nights.