According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the prerequisite for a true life of contemplation is a desire to know and to love God. For instance, we can not have an appetite for a particular food unless we have first tasted it, right? So, one can not have a desire for God unless he/she has first tasted the joy and love of His presence. What comes first: To know God is to love God OR To love God is to know God ? (Like the chicken and the egg metaphor) Not to put the two on the same level. Forgive me for doing such if it upsets you. St. Francis of Assisi believed we must first of all love God before we can know God. St. Thomas Aquinas believed we must know God before we can love God. This has been debated for centuries. Thomas Merton, a Cistercian monk, emphasizes, ” the only way to find out anything about the joys of contemplation is really by experience.” We must taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” Yet, how do we acquire a taste for growing deeper as contemplatives? By loving. Loving is the answer. Jesus makes clear to us that a more interior and fulfilling life is by loving, clarifying that this loving is not selfish in any way. Jesus says to us, “If you love Me, you will keep My word.” But what is His word that we are called to keep? St. Thomas Aquinas believes the meaning in His word is actually His will. When we live in accordance with His will we become more united to Him. We will then experience a deep seated peace and inner joy that goes way beyond the joy and peace we can find from one another. There will be no doubt that this experience comes from a higher power , the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are all on a journey. Our heart continues to long for deeper union with Other. Many times we feel our heart, the core of our inner being, deeply long for peace and an inner joy we can not seem to find from anyone else. When we begin to practice a deeper life of prayer and contemplation the love of God will grow in us. God’s will for us shall begin to unfold in front us, but most of all we will taste that the Lord is sweet. Have a most blessed week.
Your little brother,
Hermits of St. Giles
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