True contemplation is the work of a love that transcends all satisfaction and all experience to rest in the night of pure and naked faith. This faith brings us so close to God that it may be said to touch and grasp Him as He is, though in darkness. And the effect of such a contact is often a deep peace that overflows into the lower faculties of the soul and thus constitutes an “experience.” Yet that experience or feeling of peace always remains an accident of contemplation, so that the absence of this “sense” does not mean that our contact with God has ceased.
Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation (New York: New Directions Press, 1961): 211