“You were made for contemplation, and everything in the universe conspires to help you with it”

God measures us and makes his divinity fit our souls, and our souls are able to take the measure of him because he created us in his image and made us worthy. He alone is complete and can fulfill our every longing. God’s grace restores our souls and teaches us how to comprehend him through love. He is incomprehensible to the intellect. Even angels know him by loving him. Nobody’s mind is powerful enough to grasp who God is. We can only know him by experiencing his love.

Look. Every rational creature, every person, and every angel has two main strengths: the power to know and the power to love. God made both of these, but he’s not knowable through the first one. To the power of love, however, he is entirely known, because a loving soul is open to receive God’s abundance. Each person loves uniquely, and God’s limitlessness can fill all angels and all souls that will ever exist. His very nature makes love endless and miraculous. God will never stop loving us. Consider this truth, and, if by grace you can make love your own, do. For the experience is eternal joy; its absence is unending suffering.

If you were changed enough by God’s grace, you could continue controlling the unceasing and inherent impulses of your will, and by succeeding in this exercise on earth, you’d never be without a taste of the eternal sweetness, and, later, in the joy of heaven, you’d never be without every food. So don’t be surprised if I direct you to the work of contemplation. If humanity had never sinned, this work would not have stopped. You were made for contem­plation, and everything in the universe conspires to help you with it. And contemplation will heal you. … The person who shirks this exercise falls deeper and deeper into sin, moving further and further from God, but the one who practices this discipline rises higher and higher above sin, drawing nearer and nearer to God.

So take good care of your time. Watch how you spend it, for nothing is more precious. In the twinkling of an eye, heaven can be won or lost. …

Start practicing contemplation and watch how this spiritual exercise makes a difference in your life. When contemplation is genuine, it’s nothing but a sudden impulse coming out of nowhere and flying up to God like a spark from a burning coal. It’s awesome to count how many times your soul stirs like that in an hour, but, of these, you may only have one instance when you suddenly realize you’ve completely forgotten every attachment you have on earth. You’ll also notice that, because of our human frailty, each impulse rising to God immediately falls to earth in the form of a thought about something you’ve done or something that is still on your list to do. But so what? Right after that, it rises up again as fast as it did before.

See how it works? Contemplation is quite different from daydreaming or a delusion or a strange superstition. These don’t come from a sincere and humble blind stirring of love, but from an arrogant, curious, and over-imaginative mind. The self-important, hyper-analytical intellect must always and in every way be squashed. Stomp it under foot, if you want to do the work of contemplation with integrity. … So, for the love of God, be careful in this work. Don’t in any way approach contemplation with your intellect of your imagination. I’m telling you the truth—these won’t help you. Leave them be and don’t try to do the work of contem­plation with them.

Also, don’t get the wrong idea about my use of darkness and cloud. … When I say “darkness,” I mean the absence of knowing. Whatever you don’t know and whatever you’ve forgotten are “dark” to you, because you don’t see them with your spiritual eyes. For the same reason, by “cloud” I don’t mean a cloud in the sky, but a cloud of unknowing between you and God.

The Cloud of Unknowing

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2 Responses to “You were made for contemplation, and everything in the universe conspires to help you with it”

  1. mary says:

    Beautiful photo – may ask its origins?

    Thank you for these posts from the Cloud. I had tried to read it years ago and didn’t make it through. Perhaps now I am ready…

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      I’m afraid, Mary, I do not know who the artist is. I just found it on the web.

      After a further searching, the artist/photographer appears to be Carlo Bevilaqua.

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