them is that to lead a contemplative life practically takes one out of
reality. Hardly anything can be farther than the truth.
It is precisely when one is truly contemplative that he
gets a good grasp of reality. He becomes more objective and his vision
and understanding of things in general would be more complete. That’s
simply because, to put it bluntly, he is more in a position to see
things the way God, the Creator and our Father and the ultimate
measure of reality, sees them.
He just does not depend on his senses. Though he uses them
to the full, he goes much further than what sense data would provide
him. Not even does he depend only on his intelligence that already can
penetrate into the essence of things and can transcend from the
sensible to the intelligible in all their forms and possibilities.
He uses his faith, activating it in a working life of
piety and contemplation. Faith is a gift from God given to us in
abundance and that sheds the best light we can get to see, know and
understand things. This is where God shares what he knows with us.
To be sure, to be contemplative does not do away with the
senses and our intelligence. Our need and use of faith in our
contemplative life will never do away with our senses and
intelligence. It, in fact, makes use of them to the max, but goes much
So to be contemplative never means that one isolates and
detaches himself from the world. The contrary is true. It makes one
more immersed in the world. Its interest is never limited but rather
is open to the all developments in the world.
Obviously, given our human condition, we will always have
a particular or specific viewpoint and interest, but it’s an angle
that is open to the universal reality. A contemplative life that is
not open to the whole reality is not a genuine contemplative life.
In fact, a true contemplative will always feel the need to
know more about other fields that he is not familiar with. He would at
least have an open mind, willing to listen and learn from them. Thus,
he would always feel the need to be versatile and adaptable. He avoids
being rigid and one-track-minded.
His desire to know more about persons will be insatiable.
His knowledge of persons would always deepen and expand. He is not
contented with knowing them superficially. He has to probe the mystery
that each person is, guided by his faith and love of God that would
drive him to do so.
This need can only be satisfied when one is truly humble.
Humility makes one always realize his inadequacy and possibility to
know more and learn more. A proud person simply does not feel this,
and tends to say enough and stop knowing more.
And while it’s true that due to our human condition, our
limitations and those of the world, we need to distance ourselves from
time to time from the world to be able to meditate and contemplate,
it’s an exercise that is meant to enhance our immersion both in God
and in the world.
A contemplative always feels the need to be recollected to
make sure that faith leads the way instead of the senses and the
intelligence simply leading the way. We cannot deny that the latter
always have the tendency to dominate. That tendency is simply an
indication of our deeply embedded pride and vanity that are always our
That’s why to be a contemplative will always involve some
self-denial. No one can be a contemplative unless he knows how to
discipline and put his senses and intelligence in their proper place.
It is a self-denial that would lead him to vividly feel the push of
faith and love of God to immerse himself in the lives of others and in
the world in general.
This is not an easy thing to do, since we will always have
to contend with the tricks of our weakened flesh that wants to
dominate us, not to mention the wiles of our wayward world and the
But we also have ways to cope with this predicament. We
can deepen our humility, grow in our skill at spiritual warfare,
polish the art of always rectifying our intentions and correcting
ourselves whenever we find ourselves in error.
Yes, to be truly contemplative would make us more in touch