We will begin our exploration of contemplative prayer by examining the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about it:
Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery (CCC, 2724).
The Catechism describes contemplative prayer in the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us (CCC, 2709).
Contemplative prayer is further described as:
like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy (CCC, 2711)
the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more (CCC, 2712)
a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus… [and] on the mysteries of the life of Christ (CCC, 2715)
hearing the Word of God” (CCC, 2716)
participat[ion] in the "Yes" of the Son become servant and the Fiat of God's lowly handmaid (CCC, 2716)
silence (CCC, 2717)
a union with the prayer of Christ (CCC, 2718)