True love only begins when we expect nothing in return – NOTHING! Contemplative prayer stands apart from prayers of petition in that it seeks nothing. Living in this world in these times with the nature of contemporary relationships life is not at all conducive to expecting or seeking nothing. Yet, it seems quite clear that genuine love negates itself when anything is expected from it.
Contemplative prayer, which is one element of our love for You , is not genuine when we expect Your approbation. The self- giving of love allows for no expectations of return. Often our expectations are based on a fear of missing out on something. But countless times You have told us to “fear not.” Thus the elimination of expectations strongly involves trust, and trust is something we have great difficulty with. To “love and do as you will” is not a paradox. When love is true it is trusting and without expectation; doing what we will, then, cannot help but be an act of love.
In contemplative prayer we seek a state of being one with Your love as it is present in the depths of our spirit.
There is an extension of this search for oneness with You in our search for oneness with others. There is something that binds You and me in a deeply mysterious way which is prototypical of the deep bond that exists among us all. It is simply there to be recognized and nurtured. It expects nothing. To live and breathe in the constant presence of this awareness allows us to do as we will because it moves upon trust and looks for no return. Love like this cannot grow unless we accept life in all its forms as presented to us by others and unless we drop our attachments to those things that habituate us to expect returns.
The wonderful luxury in contemplative prayer is that, in its best moments, we are able to rest without expectation in the love that defines our being. Attaining this level of experience is the only “something” that goes beyond nothing – yet, it is in the expectation of nothing that it is found. Your love for us is far beyond our expectations.