Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Scent of Contemplation

"Meditation is like a person who smells a pink, a rose, rosemary, thyme, jasmine and orange blossoms, one after the other separately.  But contemplation is like one who smells a perfume made from all these different flowers.  For he receives at once the full scent of all the flowers which the other inhales separately, and it is quite certain that this perfume, which comes from the blending of all these odours, is more sweet and precious than the perfumes of which it is composed, taken separately one by one.

"After having drawn a great number of different affections from the various considerations of which our meditations are composed, we then unite the virtue of all these affections, and this union of their powers brings forth a certain quintessence of affection, more active and powerful than all the others from which it proceeds.  While it is only one, it includes the virtues and properties of all the others, and is called contemplative affection."

St. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God

Painting by Carl Spitzweg