The pitfalls are discouragement and pride. But, one must go forward and not falter. Contemplative prayer begins with hard work, and for the proficient, ends up in infused contemplation.
This type of prayer leads to the infused knowledge of God, but begins with acquired contemplation. One cannot confuse the two, and Garrigou-Lagrange is clear on the definitions. But, this is the prayer which begins when one gives time to God in order to meet Him as He wants to be found. One cannot rush this type of prayer, nor expect God to work in every person in the exact same way. Yet, we are all called to this.
Because intellectuals have such active lives and imaginations, time must be set aside for the emptying of memory, understanding, and will. I have written on this before on this blog.
The happy correspondence of this type of prayer for me is that it follows a life of reading and thinking in overlaps involving the Maritains, Garrigou-Lagrange, and, of course, Thomas Aquinas.
We are all called to this type of prayer, but I could not arrange my life to answer this deepening call until today. My health did not let me stay in Tyburn, but i still need the door to open for me to be in a place where I have the freedom to follow this call. One needs strict privacy and time to be with God, to wait on God. I can become more of a cell within a cell in quiet but not in noise or interruption. As a beginner, I want to share the trials and tribulations of contemplation.
I shall share insights with you all as I go along, as I am, always, a teacher as well as a pray-er.
This is not a prayer of visions, by the way. One moves into a mental and spiritual state where God can finally reveal Himself as He wants to be known. This is the way of emptying. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue the Bridegroom, Who removed Himself from me for a time. But, I need the space.
All preconceived ideas of how He meets us pass away. One is not in control of the relationship, but God is totally.
Here is the goal of giving this time to God.
Song of Solomon 3
3 In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and found him not.
2 I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not.
3 The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth?
4 When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that bore me.