This past summer on a retreat, I heard contemplation referred to as a “long loving look at the Divine.” In that long loving look is where we experience God.
Throughout the retreat, the other retreatants spoke of finding God in so many places. Long loving looks at creation, acts of love, family, works of mercy, elements of liturgy, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and experiences of prayer and meditation.
They encountered beauty and God everywhere. In the smallest and most mundane of things, they had long loving gazes and experienced God.
If you’ve never experienced the fruits of a contemplative prayer experience, ask yourself...
- Do you know how to have a long loving look at something you notice as beauty?
- Are you able to sit with that beauty and see the Divine in it?
- Do you know how to gaze on beauty and let it warm and engulf your heart?
Experiencing God is nothing more than noticing beauty in our midst and God in it, gazing on it, and sitting with that gaze long enough that it engulfs and overwhelms our heart with Divine love and mysteries.
In the words of William Blake:
To see the world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.