The season of Lent invites us to enter into a quiet and reflective space, as we contemplate the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem and the cross. Time alone gives us the opportunity to step back from the busyness of everyday life, to take a deep breath, and to connect more deeply with the world around us.
A noted spiritual writer defined contemplation as “a long, loving look at the real.” A mother and father looking in loving wonder and gratitude at their newborn child are engaging in an act of contemplation. Spending time on a quiet walk through the woods on a balmy spring day, soaking in the warmth and the beauty of nature, is an act of contemplation. Sitting on a park bench, watching the world go by, is an act of contemplation. Spending some quiet time considering all our blessings is an act of contemplation.
Making pictures is something that helps me to connect on a deeper level with the world around me. For me it is an act of contemplation, as I take in the scene in front of me, frame it in the camera, and push the shutter button. My connection with the scene is strengthened in post-processing the photo, as I optimize the image to reflect my vision, my experience of the scene. It brings me a sense of joy and gratitude.
Jesus connected with his world. It’s especially apparent in his dealings with the marginalized of his society—the sick, Samaritans, women and children, the Gentiles. He included everyone in his vision of the Reign of God. His long, loving look at creation is a model for us, as we strive to be faithful to the gospel, as we take time in our own life for the act of contemplation.
“Then Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” (Mt 14:22-23)