The conditions of contemplation consists in being trained in calm, peace and serenity. If one truly desires the contemplative life, that is, one that is calm, serene and peaceful, then the environment one finds oneself living in is of utmost importance. This environment should be one which permits the soul to be less occupied with material things. An environment that would be enveloped in silence where one could apply oneself in prayer and to wait. Wait, that is, in order to receive the gift of God: contemplation.
People, especially today, are always in a rush – doing nothing at all! There is hardly ever a time when someone isn’t talking. However, whoever speaks much will not attain spiritual silence or the silence so necessary for a spiritual life. Then there is the constant noise: chatter, idle conversations, television, radio, music, etc. not to mention the numerous distractions that plague the modern sojourner.
In 1 Kings 17:2-4 we encounter the journey of the prophet Elijah.
The LORD then said to Elijah:
“Leave here, go east and hide in the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan.
You shall drink of the stream, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there.”
The Book of Kings contains the story of the prophet Elijah from whose spirit Carmelites get the germ of their Rule. The spiritual meaning of these verses summarizes the environment that contemplatives are striving for in their lives as they seek union with God.
“Leave here…” depart from the world.
“Go east…” turn toward God.
“Hide in the Wadi Cherith…” alone and in solitude.
“Drink of the stream…” equals “living water” not stagnant water- symbolizes divine, infused contemplation.
“Ravens to feed you…” represents holy reading.
Start today on your journey by creating an environment that will allow you time, solitude and the silence that is needed to have a deep and fulfilling prayer life.