Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Praying and the Maximus Contemplator

Flower, Dearborn Village

Twelfth-century writer Bernard of Clairvaux referred to David as the maximus contemplator (cf. "The Evangelical Resistance and Retrieval of Contemplation, by Tom Schwanda, in Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Spring 2014, Vol. 7, No. 1, p. 70). David has a one-thing focus that is seen in Psalm 27:4:

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD 
and to seek him in his temple.

Here's the Davidic one-thing focus again, in Ps. 63:1-5:

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
Schwanda writes: "Both of these Davidic psalms communicate the intense longing and fulfilled delight of being in God's presence." (Ib.)

My understanding and experience of praying is that it happens in God's presence. 

Praying opens the door to the realized presence of God.