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Imaginative Contemplation


Basically imaginative contemplation is about prayer, and it is especially useful for praying from the Gospels.  We read the gospel story, then imagine the scene as though it is happening at this moment and we are active participants in it.

This way of praying the life of Christ stresses the humanity of Jesus, the use of the imagination and feelings to enter into an intimate relationship with him.  Here we encounter God in the midst of our own experiences and in this particular moment in our lives.      

The immediate reaction of many people to this suggestion is, ‘But I have no imagination’, meaning usually, ‘I am not a creative or artistic person’.  But if you are capable of recalling even one event of your past life and reliving it in memory, however blurred the details, then you have the ability to pray imaginatively!

Peoples’ imaginative ability varies.  Some can imagine with clear pictorial detail and are able to see the size and furnishings of a room, the colour of walls or the sky, the nature of the lighting, the expressions in people’s faces, etc., while others will not see any of these details, the picture being very blurred and indefinite.

The details are not important.  What is important is that, through the use of our imagination, we should come to know the reality of God and of the Risen Jesus, as real today as on the days of his life, death and resurrection, and that we might deepen our relationship with God.

In general, in this method of prayer you let imagination lead, but keep focus on your attention on Christ, so that the imagining does not degenerate into a type of fantasy, in which the focus of attention becomes yourself!

There should be nothing hurried in this or any other form of prayer. It may take quite a long time to let the scene build up.  Here it is important to remember that there are layers upon layers of consciousness within us.  Very frequently the preliminary state before reaching a deeper layer is a feeling of inner emptiness, dryness and boredom.  But if we abandon the prayer every time we feel bored, we never reach the deep layers.

We may also experience distractions and because of this we might think that our prayer has failed.   But it has not failed!  Our imagination is revealing an aspect of our own reality, and what are termed ‘distractions’ can become the substance and subject matter of our prayer—it is in these distractions that we in fact might find God, who is present in every aspect of our lives!

Give it a tryTry this one first! (Zacchaeus)

Other guided texts for Imaginative Contemplation

My desire: Save me, Lord - being with Jesus as saviour

My desire: Heal me, Lord - being with Jesus as healer

My desire: Forgive me, Lord - being with Jesus as forgiver

My desire: Free me, Lord - being with Jesus as liberator

My desire: Love me, Father - being with Jesus as unconditional lover

 

And a few more biblical texts for Imaginative Contemplation...

 

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