This month of December I'm reading more of spiritual matters particularly on prayers. From Thomas Merton: "Contemplation is the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life. ..It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant Source. Contemplation is, above all, awareness of the reality of that Source. It knows the Source, obscurely, inexplicably, but with a certitude that goes both beyond reason and beyond simple faith.
...In other words, then, contemplation reaches out to the knowledge and even to the experience of the transcendent and inexpressive God....Hence contemplation is a sudden gift of awareness, an awakening to the Real within all that is real. A vivid awareness of infinite Being at the roots of our own limited being. An awareness of our contingent reality as received, as a present from God, as a free gift of love."
Merton wrote: "Our faith is given us not to see whether or not our neighbor is Christ but to recognize Christ in him and to help our love make both him and ourselves more fully Christ."