Contemplation with creation

Contemplation is a way of being from the heart that enables us to receive and respond to God’s love in each moment.

“The best antidote against this misuse of our common home is contemplation.” Pope Francis (Catechesis Sept 16 2020)

Why Contemplation

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LSM Guide to Contemplation

Download LSM’s Guide to Contemplation


What is contemplation?

Contemplation is a way of being from the heart that enables us to receive and respond to God’s love in each moment. To contemplate is to encounter the present with awareness and love.

Why contemplation of creation?

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis states that our current ecological crisis requires a change of attitude in our hearts. He connects our destruction of creation to our vast “interior deserts” that lead to frenetic activity, busyness, and overconsumption. Instead, he says, “Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle.”(222) Contemplation helps us to better hear Creation’s song by opening us to gratitude and awe. Contemplation allows us to open to the cries of the earth and poor, by increasing our capacity to be with the suffering of others. Contemplation finally helps us to hear Creation’s call to us to respond to the healing of our earth by quieting the mind to better discern what is ours to do.

What is contemplation of creation?

At LSM, we focus on contemplation with creation, trusting God’s presence and gift within every speck. This begins with contemplating ourselves as creation through the breath and awareness of the body. We do not want to forget that we too are made up of and sustained by the elements of creation: earth, wind, fire, and water. Contemplating with the breath is an opportunity to pray with creation at every moment.

Contemplation with creation also includes contemplating outside in nature and with the plants and living beings inside and outside our homes. It can also include recalling encounters with creation in our imagination.

How do I contemplate?

Here are three elements that can support contemplation, whether one is in a formal period of contemplation in silent meditation or one is moving about in one’s daily life. 

  1. Awareness: Pause to bring awareness to what is present in this moment, including God’s loving gaze upon you. Remind yourself that you want to bring a contemplative attitude to whatever is before you.
  2. Body: Bring awareness of the body by noticing the felt sensations of the breath, whether in our bellies or the in-and-out of the heart, or our body as a whole. You might also attune to our other senses, hearing, touch, smell, especially if you are in nature. 
  3. Choose how to respond in the moment with love. We often are not aware of the impulses that drive our decisions which can be destructive to ourselves, others, and our planet. Contemplation can help us to slow down and bring awareness to what is actually present and to act in love.
What is the difference between contemplation and meditation?

Contemplation is an approach to life that can be brought into every moment of our lives, whether talking to others, praying in mass, or shopping. It can be helpful to think more about it as an encounter where one is bringing an attitude of loving awareness to the moment. Here at Laudato Si’ Movement we understand meditation as a formal period of contemplation by setting aside a specific time in stillness and silence. This is an important practice to cultivate our contemplative muscle, while resting in God’s gaze.

Is contemplation a prayer or a practice?

Both! It is practice because it is a way of being that we can cultivate to increase our capacity for awareness, receptivity, and wise responses. Contemplation is also prayer. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, quoting St. John Damascene, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.” (CCC 2559) Thus anytime you are offering your time of silent contemplative practice to God, recalling you are in God’s loving gaze, it is prayer.

What if my mind is too busy to contemplate?

This is completely natural. We can bring in three elements. We become aware of what types of thoughts are present, not getting caught in the content but just noting silently what is present. Or we might open to another aspect of the body, like listening, noticing when sounds arise or pass away. We might even see if there is a physical sensation connected to any predominant feeling or thought and be present to that sensation. Having noticed, we might choose to make space for the discomfort of our restlessness or anxiety, trusting that God will give us the grace to be with our experience with love.


Learn more about contemplation by exploring these complementary materials

Short guide: How to contemplate

Guided Meditations

Laudato Si’ quotes related to contemplation

Other related resources:

Pope Francis Catechesis

“Healing the world”: 7. Care of the common home and contemplative dimension

Pope Francis remarks on

Contemplation and Compassion to the Laudato Si' Communities

This program is made possible by a grant from the Trust for the Meditation Process, a charitable foundation encouraging meditation, mindfulness and contemplative prayer.