Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Contemplative Quotes


"I have come to find the term  presence a more central and more useful category for grasping the unifying note in the varieties of Christian mysticism.
Thus we can say that the mystical [/contemplative] element in Christianity is that part of its beliefs and practices that concern the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the reaction to what can be described as immediate and direct [transforming] presence of God."

--from Bernard McGinn, The Presence of God….The Foundations of Mysticism,  Vol. 1, p.xvii.


“Recollection in silence, the state of the person’s being most with himself, is an indispensable condition for this being with the Other [God-Trinity] that is closer to him than he is to himself.
“When the mind is habituated to noise, it creates this [noise] for itself even in the absence of sound by chattering to itself, whether verbally or imaginatively.  As the imagination recreates visual images intensely or repeatedly impressed on the eyes when the eyes are closed, so also does it produce distraction and dissonance for the mind at home in the elsewhere of the audible and inaudible hum.  A mind that lives elsewhere and otherwise is seldom itself and encounters itself unexpectedly, sporadically, and with a hard shock.
“Silence is not an empty space to be filled but is full of meaning for him who has ears to hear it.  The person draws himself toward silence by collecting himself—his faculty, attentions, and intentions—and yet it is silence itself, with its Word beyond all human significance, that finally draws the person.  When the person refrains from the distraction of chatter and the fabrication of (often banal) meaning, it is in the abyss to which he has entrusted himself that her finds himself
“The proper treatment of this subject [silence] begins and ends with the Word; our starting point here is the silence of Jesus recorded in the Gospels and the point of arrival is the sense in which silence is conducive to a relationship with Christ.”
--William L. Brownsberger. Silence. Communio (P O Box 4557, Washington, DC. 20017), Winter 2009, XXXVI, 4, pp. 587-588.

“Music that is silent,

And solitude that sings.”
La musica callada,
La soledad Sonora.”
-- St. John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle, 14 &15 Stanza, Expositions, 25 – 27  (Peers translation)

For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Fredrickson