Thomas, thanks for replying. Well... I think your example of the rose is a good one. I also believe that the numinous can shine through the most mundane things, or really, through any form that the senses can perceive, at any time, perhaps depending on what is needed by the one receiving it. I had my last such experience only a couple of weeks ago, through a piece of music. In my babbling concerning the forms, I had in mind something more akin to the dark night of the soul of St. John of the Cross (purgation of the senses), in which the consolations connected with the senses begin to be taken away, causing those faculties to, in effect, "go dark" with regard to spiritual matters. This would be similar to a weaning process, moving us away from a form of nourishment that has long sustained us to another, which, though it contains the promise of better things, we have not yet developed a taste for. The term contemplation seems a bit dry and formal for me, as this is nothing but a union of the spirit with God, experienced as a gentle inflowing of love. Infused love, if you will, for we cannot produce it or conjure it by any force of effort or merit it by works. This doesn't mean sensible forms are completely lost or rendered of no value, but rather that my attachment to them is being slowly suspended in favor of another faculty, that of the spirit, which is able to bypass the senses, intellect -- even the reason, I suppose. This is infused theology. It must of course filter back into the senses and understanding and reason, but it doesn't begin there. It is a "different" way of learning which begins not with the senses, but with the spirit. This is my understanding of it, anyway (for now). I think there is a great deal of pain associated with these things, as there often is with any spiritual change. It's like your world is ending and you are stepping on the dark precipices of the unknown. And yet, something moves you onward. It's like a conversion experience or a life-changing revelation, but deeper. You know as you move toward it that nothing will ever be the same again. And though it might not seem so, rather than moving further into selfishness (in the dark night you can by quite self-concerned), you are actually moving away from it, because the end result (love) is not selfish at all. This can be at the same time both frightening and exciting. With regard to the OP concerning the law as contained in the 2nd commandment, this is my opinion: No matter what my take on the law is, if I take it seriously and give it it's due; if I seek to implement it and live by it, I will fail. But this I have to try, because the law has dominion over a man "as long as he lives". But, the greater the effort, the more sure the lesson: no flesh shall be justified by the works of the law, though that law be holy and just and good. If all goes well, "Thou shalt" (the creature must produce) gives way to "I will" (God will do the work in you). In the former, you are left to your strength and devices. In the latter, strength exhausted, empty, slain by the law in a figure, you have fallen into the everlasting arms. One is a cold letter, which kills; the other is a life giving spirit. So I let the letter do its work, and the spirit do its work. It's death and resurrection -- not life instead of death, but life through death.