“Contemplation” is a word that Thomas Merton used again and again in his writings. It is a theme that he spent much of his life exploring. About contemplation, he wrote “Contemplation is the highest expression of man’s intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. 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 beyond reason and beyond simple faith…It is a more profound depth of faith, a knowledge too deep to be grasped in images, in words, or even in clear concepts…” This short 1948 essay is a good introduction to this important topic in the overall work of Thomas Merton.