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Meditation and contemplation, what is the different?

Those who meditate are expressive and eloquent. The activity of a beehive bustles within them, a perpetual coming and going, an endless jumping to conclusions, from inductions to deductions. Their heads are full of concepts which they analyze and decipher, distinguish and divide, explain and apply.

Contemplatives, however, are submerged in silence. In their interior there is no dialogue but only a warm and pulsing current of communication. It is a silence full of awe and presence which the psalmist felt when he said, “Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the world” (Ps 8).

They affirm nothing. Nor is anything explained. The contemplatives do not understand nor try to understand. Arriving at the port, letting go of the oars, they enter the sabbath rest. This is the overwhelming possession in which all desires and all words are silenced forever. The union of being with Being is consummated (expression is not needed as an intermediary), of interior with Interior, of mystery with Mystery.

For the contemplative, it is enough to be “at the feet” of the Other without knowing or wanting to know; only looking and knowing that one is looked at, like a warm afternoon that completely surpasses all expectations, where everything appears to be quiet and eternal. We could say that the contemplative is mute, drunk, identified, enveloped, and penetrated by the presence, as John of the Cross says:

“I left myself and forgot myself,

my face bowed before my Beloved,

everything ceased, and I left myself,

leaving my cares, forgotten among the lilies”

Extracted from the book “Sensing your Hidden Presence” by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga.


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