St. Ignatius of Loyola provides a type of meditation where imagination leads to a peaceful reading of the Gospel.
It can be tempting to read the Bible in a dry and uninspiring way. However, reading the Bible can be turned into a most peaceful form of meditation.
St. Ignatius of Loyola describes this type of meditative prayer in his Spiritual Exercises.
He explains that the first thing you must do is read a short passage from the Bible. In particular, St. Ignatius suggests using the Gospels and beginning with the narrative of Jesus’ birth. He then instructs the individual to use their imagination to meditate on this passage of Scripture.
The second, a composition, seeing the place. It will be here to see with the sight of the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem; considering the length and the breadth, and whether such road is level or through valleys or over hills; likewise looking at the place or cave of the Nativity, how large, how small, how low, how high, and how it was prepared.The first Point is to see the persons; that is, to see Our Lady and Joseph and the maid, and, after His Birth, the Child Jesus, I, making myself a poor creature and a wretch of an unworthy slave, looking at them and serving them in their needs, with all possible respect and reverence, as if I found myself present; and then to reflect on myself in order to draw some profit.The second, to look, mark and contemplate what they are saying, and, reflecting on myself, to draw some profit.
This type of imaginative prayer immerses yourself in the biblical scene, placing yourself right next to Jesus and the other characters who were present.
When we do this, the Bible comes alive, no longer a dry history book, but a living story that we can enter into. When imagining such a scene, we will often notice things we never thought about before, since Scripture is, as the Church teaches us, a living word.
This can deeply impact our own prayer life, allowing God’s peace to penetrate our soul as we walk within the scene.
Furthermore, by placing yourself into the scene, you can ask God what he wants to show you. The beauty of this type of prayer is that if you are open to God’s voice, it could be something different each time you meditate on the same passage of the Bible.
If you are looking for a new form of meditation, try this exercise of St. Ignatius and find God’s peace as you immerse yourself into his story.