Contemplative prayer may seem like a lofty spirituality accessible only to an enlightened minority, but it is the only way we can truly respond to St. James’ exhortation to joy in the midst of trials. Contemplative prayer is no more complicated than breathing or gazing upon someone we love. Contemplative prayer is difficult only when we are unacquainted with obscurity and expect or prefer something obvious.
The Word of God, though extremely nourishing for our faith, still obliges us at some level to plunge into obscurity. The only obvious thing that can directly and immediately develop our faith is the suffering due to trials. We don’t need to go out looking for trials, they are already present in our daily lives: I can experience my life, my habits, my sins as a burden; I can also experience other people as a burden: responsibility, injustice, rudeness.