St. Ignatius of Loyola, a deeply revered master of the spiritual life, always counseled people to use their imaginations when they prayed. Ignatius himself loved to imagine himself present at the Last Supper or at the Sermon on the Mount as a way of bringing these scriptural stories to life.
He loved to see himself at the “thirteenth apostle,” listening to Jesus and watching how everyone else responded to Jesus’ words and deeds.
Following Ignatius’ advice, I like to use images from Scripture to help me in my prayer. Some of my favorites are Jesus’ Transfiguration or the story of the road to Emmaus in Luke
24. Placing myself at the scene of these events really helps me to connect with Jesus as I pray. It helps me to sense his presence and hear his voice that much more clearly.
Every Advent, when I read about the birth of Jesus, I also like to imagine being there with Mary, listening to the angel Gabriel as he invited her to become the mother of the Son of God. I imagine, too, what it was like for Joseph…
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