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Rather it is a book to sit with quietly, spending as much time as needed to absorb his words and apply them personally In short, to fully appreciate the depth of Louf's insights, one must approach his writing with the receptivity of a contemplative.
The Christian contemplative tradition offers similar wisdom for individual prayers.
Like his monastic life and work, Merton's best contemplative writing reveals his amazing ability to draw from a variety of Christian and non-Christian sources.
He and two other Trappist monks, William Meninger and Basil Pennington, began holding retreats to teach this method of prayer, which draws on contemplative church teachings such as those of the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, John of the Cross, and Teresa of Avila Keating co-founded Contemplative Outreach, a worldwide nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging the practice of centering prayer and Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures).
Yet, as O'Donoghue reminds us, prayer can be dangerous, and all who engage in the contemplative way are often misunderstood or marginalized.
It is love, our love for God, that animates the contemplative attitude.
The goal is of this movement is to bring in the some of the most sought-after monks, hermits and spiritual teachers to serve as elders for young contemplatives.
But God's first language, contemplatives remind us, is silence.
Contemplatives have been a gift to the church and to the world in every day and age, and our time is no different.
I have myself become a sort of stereotype of the world-denying contemplative - the man who spurned New York, spat on Chicago, and tromped on Louisville, heading for the woods with Thoreau in one pocket, John of the Cross in another, and holding the Bible open at the Apocalypse.
Addressing such a question to contemplatives might seem strange to those who think that the contemplative is one who seeks to escape the world.
But the anchor, of course, is my contemplative life, which I guard very, very carefully.