<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <meta name="keywords" content="Contemplative Christianity. The Inner Void." /> <meta name="description" content="Contemplative Christianity. The Inner Void. The best and worst thing about Contemplative Prayer is that it brings us face to face with ourselves before it brings us face to face with God. But after we come face to face with ourselves, we will come face to face with God." /> <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=unicode" /> <title>Contemplative Christianity | The Inner Void</title> <link href='http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Abel' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css' /> <link href="css/style009.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="screen" /> <link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" /> <link rel="icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" /> </head> <body> <div id="wrapper"> <div id="header-wrapper" class="container"> <div id="header" class="container"> <div id="logo"> <h1><a href="#">Contemplative Christianity</a></h1> <p class="right"><a href="index.html" title="Home."><span style="color:#F4FA58">Home</span></a> <a href="silence.html" title="Silence.">Silence</a> <a href="solitude.html" title="Solitude.">Solitude</a> <a href="stillness.html" title="Stillness.">Stillness</a> <a href="simplicity.html" title="Simplicity.">Simplicity</a> <a href="sacraments.html" title="Sacraments.">Sacraments</a> <a href="scriptures.html" title="Scriptures.">Scriptures</a> <a href="servanthood.html" title="Servanthood.">Servanthood</a> <a href="suffering.html" title="(Suffering).">(Suffering)</a> <a href="articles.html" title="Articles.">Articles</a></p> </div> </div> <div><img src="images/img03.png" width="1000" height="40" alt="" /></div> </div> <!-- end #header --> <div id="page"> <div id="content"> <div class="post"> <h2 class="title"><a href="innervoid.html" title="The Inner Void.">The Inner Void</a></h2> <div style="clear: both;">&nbsp;</div> <div class="entry"> <p>We find Contemplative Prayer hard, not because it is difficult. We find it hard because it brings pain before pleasure, emptiness before infilling.</p> <br /><br /><a href="http://www.contemplativechristianity.com/images/InnerVoid008-large.jpg" onclick="this.target='_blank'"><img class="center bordered" src="images/InnerVoid008.jpg" alt="Inner Void." /></a><br /><br /><br /> <h3>Discomfort</h3> <div class="calloutboxright"><p>The first thing we encounter<br />in silence and solitude is the<br />discomfort of the inner void. </p></div> <p>The first thing we encounter in silence and solitude is the discomfort of the inner void. We flinch and instinctively want to fill that void with words and people and things and activity so that we don't <em>feel</em> so empty. God wants us to <em>feel that emptiness, to enter into and embrace it,</em> and then be silent and still while He fills the solitude and stillness with His Presence and Peace. But we instinctively first try other things, even good things.</p> <p><em>Good things like active prayer.</em></p> <h3>Silence</h3> <p>The Silence of the inner void makes us feel very uncomfortable so we sometimes fill the emptiness with active fervent praying, praying with so many words God cannot be heard. There is then no silence in which He can speak.</p> <p><em>Good things like enjoyable fellowship.</em></p> <h3>Solitude</h3> <p>Solitude can be almost unbearable and the enjoyable fellowship of others sometimes fills our emptiness with solace and we no longer feel our lack. God wants us to feel the loneliness and the ache of heart and let that be an invitation to intimacy with Him.</p> <p><em>Good things like activity and busyness.</em></p> <h3>Stillness</h3> <a href="http://www.contemplativechristianity.com/images/BeStill002-large.png" onclick="this.target='_blank'"><img class="center" src="images/BeStill002.png" alt="Be Still." /></a><br /> <p>Being Still can actually feel painful and activity and busyness sometimes anaesthetizes the pain and disconnects us from our empty and at times agonized self. He wants us to be still and feel long enough so He can fill the inner void with Himself, with His Sweet Spirit, and with His Pure Presence.</p> <h3>Delight</h3> <p>Pain seeks pleasure, physical pleasure, but there is no greater pleasure and delight than that found in His Presence. Nothing else will better alleviate the pain of the human condition.</p> <blockquote><p>Do not harden your hearts<br /> as in the rebellion,<br /> on the day of temptation in the wilderness,<br /><br /> where your fathers tested Me and tried Me<br /> and saw My works for forty years.<br /><br /> Therefore I was angry with that generation,<br /> and said,  They always go astray in their heart,<br /> and they have not known My ways. <br /><br /> So I swore in My wrath,<br />  They shall not enter My rest. /  <br /><br /> Hebrews 3: 8 - 11 MEV</p></blockquote> <p>Entering into His rest - the beautiful rest of silence, solitude, simplicity and stillness - is a key to knowing His ways. They were not erring in their works. They went astray in their hearts and therefore did not know His ways. Only when we know His ways can we best serve Him.</p> <h3>The Worse and the Best</h3> <blockquote><p>The worse thing about Contemplative Prayer is that it brings us face to face with ourselves before it brings us face to face with God.</p></blockquote> <a href="http://www.contemplativechristianity.com/images/Best010-large.jpg" onclick="this.target='_blank'"><img class="left" src="images/Best010.jpg" alt="The Worst. The Best." /></a> <p>This is one of life's most painful experiences. Nothing will do more to dissuade us of the idea that we are truly spiritual people than an attempt at Silent Contemplative Prayer. It does not produce spiritual giants. It produces people who discover they really are not. It is a rude reality check that fosters total and utter dependence on God.</p> <blockquote><p>The best thing about Contemplative Prayer is that it brings us face to face with ourselves before it brings us face to face with God.</p></blockquote> <p>But after we come face to face with ourselves, we <em>will</em> come face to face with God.</p> <h3 class="center"><a href="innersanctuary.html" title="Building Our Inner Sanctuary.">Back</a> | <a href="quietlyinvisible.html" title="Being Quietly Invisible.">Next</a></h3> </div> </div> <div style="clear: both;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <!-- end #content --> <div id="sidebar"> <a href="http://www.contemplativechristianity.com/images/Menorah009-large.jpg" onclick="this.target='_blank'"><img class="center" src="images/Menorah009.jpg" alt="Menorah." /></a><br /> <ul> <li> <h2>Home</h2> <ul> <li><a href="index.html" title="Home ~ Welcome.">Home ~ Welcome</a></li> <li><a href="contemplativechallenge.html" title="The Contemplative Challenge.">The Contemplative Challenge</a></li> <li><a href="holyplace.html" title="The Holy Place.">The Holy Place</a></li> <li><a href="contemplativecall.html" title="My Contemplative Call.">My Contemplative Call</a></li> <li><a href="innersanctuary.html" title="Building Our Inner Sanctuary.">Building Our Inner Sanctuary</a></li> <li class="current"><a href="innervoid.html" title="The Inner Void.">The Inner Void</a></li> <li><a href="quietlyinvisible.html" title="Being Quietly Invisible.">Being Quietly Invisible</a></li> <li><a href="experiencingchrist.html" title="Experiencing Christ.">Experiencing Christ</a></li> <li><a href="opposition.html" title="Those Who Oppose.">Those Who Oppose</a></li> <li><a href="blessednessofboredom.html" title="The Blessedness of Boredom.">The Blessedness of Boredom</a></li> <li><a href="simplysatisfied.html" title="Simply Satisfied With Him.">Simply Satisfied With Him</a></li> <li><a href="maryultimatecontemplative.html" title="Mary ~ The Ultimate Contemplative.">Mary ~ The Ultimate Contemplative</a></li> <li><a href="corporatecontemplation.html" title="Corporate Contemplation.">Corporate Contemplation</a></li> <li><a href="contemplativeanswer.html" title="The Contemplative Answer.">The Contemplative Answer</a></li> <li><a href="contemplativecure.html" title="The Contemplative Cure.">The Contemplative Cure</a></li> <li><a href="emptyinnginfilling.html" title="Emptying and Infilling.">Emptying and Infilling</a></li> <li><a href="journalnotes.html" title="Journal Notes.">Journal Notes</a></li></ul> </li></ul> </div> <!-- end #sidebar --> <div style="clear: both;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="container"><img src="images/img03.png" width="1000" height="40" alt="" /></div> <!-- end #page --> </div> <div id="footer-content"></div> <div id="footer"> &copy; <script type="text/javascript"> var theDate=new Date() document.write(theDate.getFullYear()) </script> <a href="http://contemplativechristianity.com" onclick="this.target='_blank'" title="Ken R. 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