Aleteia

How contemplation can lead to peace during the COVID-19 crisis

peace
fizkes | Shutterstock
Share

One of the most simplest and most peaceful types of prayer is contemplation.

Worries and anxiety about the present crisis in the world can often make prayer difficult. We try to open up the Bible, but we are distracted by our daily fears.

One powerful way to combat these feelings is to stop everything and contemplate God.

Contemplation is (in the words of St. Teresa of Avila) “nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” The Catechism reiterates this theme when it summarizes this type of prayer.

Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery. (CCC 2724)

Contemplation might best be summarized by the phrase, “I look at him and he looks at me,” a description of prayer that “a certain peasant of Ars … used to say while praying before the tabernacle” (CCC 2715).

Contemplative prayer is where our love of God is expressed and realized. It is when we contemplate “Someone,” a person, God himself.

This can help us re-orient ourselves and surrender our lives to God.

St. Ignatius of Loyola explains one method of contemplating God that only takes a short moment and can be done repeatedly throughout the day.

“A step or two before the place where I am to contemplate or meditate, I will stand for the space of an Our Father and, with my consciousness raised on high, consider how the Lord my God looks upon me. Then I will make an act of reverence or humility” (Spiritual Exercises, #75).

Instead of looking-up at God, we simply recognize how God looks at me. We are never alone in this crisis and this fact alone should provide for feelings of peace and security.

God is looking at you. Sometimes we need to stop what we are doing to look back at him.

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.