He said most of us do not understand what the word really means. We think it means something like, “Hey, check this out!”

He said, Imagine a mother holding her newborn baby. Observe her gaze. See how her face softens. She can’t stop looking at him. She is not evaluating him. She is delighting in him. Drinking him in…

And the baby, he said, gazes at her. He has no words. But something very palpable travels to him in that gaze. Something that fortifies him. Something that will make him strong, and help him know who he is.

Behold is like that, he said.

This is what happens when I sit in silence with God. I behold Him, and He beholds me. And words are not needed. But something very palpable passes between us. Delight. Deep knowing. And I begin to understand who I am. Who I really am.

And this silence, this communion with God, becomes something I carry inside me. And it perfumes everything. It informs everything. And I see differently. I am different.

Contemplation is the highest expression of man’s intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being…

~Thomas Merton

*A liberal translation of the teaching of Ian Cron at #Luminous12
**Personal prerogative: photograph is Kelsey and Kenzie. I made the baby in the story a boy because it reads more cleanly.