Enter into the scenes of Holy Week
As we enter into Holy Week, I invite you to use your imagination to personally experience the moments of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola proposed the use of imaginative prayer. He was convinced that God can speak to us as surely through our imagination as through our thoughts and memories. Praying with the imagination engages the mind and heart and stirs up thoughts and emotions. Imaginative prayer is especially suited for praying with the Gospels.
The process of imaginative prayer invites you into the process of letting the events of Jesus’ life be present to you in the moment. Visualize the event as a movie in your mind. Pay attention to the details: sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings of the event. Place yourself in the scene and let it unfold.
Praying with a Gospel scene with your imagination is not simply remembering it or going back in time. Through imaginative prayer, the Holy Spirit makes present a mystery of Jesus’ life in a way that is meaningful for you now. Use your imagination to dig deeper into the story so that God may communicate with you in a personal way.
You might initially worry about going beyond the text of the Gospel. If you have offered your time of prayer to God, then begin by trusting that God is communicating with you. If you wonder if your imagination is going “too far,” then do some discernment with how you are praying: Did your imagining lead you closer to God or farther away?
Some people find imaginative prayer difficult. They may not be able to picture the scene easily, yet they may have some intuition or gut reaction to the story. Or they may hear or feel the story more than visualize it. In a spirit of generosity, pray as you are able; don’t try to force it. Rest assured that God will speak to you, whether through your memory, understanding, intellect, emotions, or imagination.