WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
In the contemplative life the soul, intellect, and will tends to no other thing than God; in the active life, on the contrary, it tends at the same time to other things, namely to exterior good works, so long as these be for God. That is why in the active soul the works undertaken for God impress themselves more strongly than God Himself.
Therefore also is it said of the active life that it is solicitous and troubled by many things, that is to say, by exterior good works, that are numerous and distracting; while of the contemplative life it is said that it is occupied with One only matter, which is God. And thus it happens that the active life brings with it a certain trouble, and the dispersion of the soul over numerous and varied things, whereas the contemplative life brings peace, serenity, and the simplification of the soul.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930