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THE “SABBATH” OF CONTEMPLATION …

It is particularly important to note that in Peter of Celles liturgical and personal contemplation exist side by side in perfect harmony.  He loves to describe the “sabbath” of contemplation, in which the soul rests in God and God works in the soul; the quiet and transcendent activity, the quies sine rubigine, in which purity of heart rewards the contemplative for the labor of asceticism.  This labor is “active life” in another the older sense: the life of discipline, penance, mortification, which is absolutely necessary.  Without virtue there can be no real and lasting contemplation.  Without the labor of discipline there can be no rest in love.

God works in us while we rest in him.  Beyond all grasping is this work of the Creator, itself creative, this rest.  For such work exceeds all rest, in its tranquility.  This rest, in its effect, shines forth as more productive than any work.  Therefore let this action or rest of our contemplation be fashioned so as to reproduce, even though only in faint or sketchy lines, one model (of work and rest which is in God) …  These things are not done in shadow or in night, but in the day, in the light, in the sun of justice; for he who snores in the night of vice cannot know the light of contemplation”.

From Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton

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