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.


The Cloud of Unknowing, Chapter III
Lift up your heart to God with a humble impulse of love; and have himself as your aim, not any of his goods.  Take care that you avoid thinking of anything but himself, so that there is nothing for your reason or your will to work on, except himself.  Do all that in you lies to forget all the creatures that God ever made, and their works, so that neither your thought nor your desire be directed or extended to any of them, neither in general nor in particular. Let them alone and pay no attention to them.  This is the work of the soul that pleases God most.  All saints and angels take joy in this exercise, and are anxious to help it on with all their might.  All the devils are furious when you undertake it, and make it their business, insofar as they can, to destroy it.
We cannot know how wonderfully  all people dwelling on earth are helped by this exercise. …
The darkness and cloud are always between you and your God, no matter what you do, and it prevents you from seeing him clearly by the light of understanding in your reason and from experiencing him in sweetness of love in your affection.  So set yourself to rest in this darkness, as long as you can, always crying out after him whom you love.
(The Classics of Western Spirituality Edition and Translation, p.120-121)

“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