The prevalence of James’ approach has served to further enculturate a singular rationalism concerning contemplation in the West, which serves as a profound witness to religious experience itself. Nevertheless, the depth, breadth, and integrated beauty of historical Christian contemplation separates itself from other forms of spirituality and pseudo-spirituality, the most salient distinction being self-denial vs. self-promotion, respectively.
Catholic Christian ascetical practise – the essence of which is love – nurtures our receptivity to attend to God, and to order our daily affairs accordingly. According to our state of life, silence serves as a great resource aimed at the recollection of this. The preponderance of distractions dictated by reason becomes an obstacle to Godly recollection. The practise of the presence of God cultivates an un-opinionated interior solitude in which we are mindful that our souls are the temple of God…and loves that above all else.
For Catholics, contemplative life is simply the natural flowering of our baptismal vocation…historically rooted, biblically based, traditionally witnessed.