INVITATION TO A PROGRAM OF IMAGINATIVE PRAYER FOR LENT IN NYC
Lenten Program for Church of the Epiphany 2018
PRAYING WITH THE IMAGINATION
Four Week Program, following the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola
Tuesdays in Lent, February 27, March 6, 13, 20 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Presented by Nancy Sondag RDT and Jim Mayzik SJ
Each week will include a presentation of the themes of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises, and an interactive Bibliodrama designed to open the scriptures using imagination. Volunteers will have more active roles, while others may choose to watch the exercises. Participants will be given a week of prayer contemplations and aids which they may use during the ensuing week of Lent.
Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola
St Ignatius of Loyola was convinced that God can speak to us as surely through our imagination as through our thoughts and memories. In the Ignatian tradition, praying with the imagination is called contemplation. In the Spiritual Exercises, contemplation is a very active way of praying that engages the mind and heart and stirs up thoughts and emotions. (Note that in other spiritual traditions, contemplation has quite a different meaning: it refers to a way of praying that frees the mind of all thoughts and images.)
Ignatian contemplation is suited especially for the Gospels. Beginning in the Second Week of the Exercises, it is possible to accompany Jesus through his life by imagining scenes from the Gospel stories. This type of prayer allows the events of Jesus’ life be present in our own worlds. The prayer encourages visualization of the Gospel events as if you were making a movie. Attention is paid to the details: sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings of the event. Participants are asked to lose themselves in the story, allowing the imagination to run with it-- placing themselves in the scene.
Contemplating a Gospel scene is not simply remembering it or going back in time. Through the act of contemplation, the Holy Spirit makes present a mystery of Jesus’ life in a way that is meaningful for you now. Imagination is used to dig deeper into the story so that God may communicate with you in a personal, evocative way.
Bibliodrama is a similar to the Spiritual Exercise in that the participant uses his or her imagination to enter into a story or passage from the Bible. Staying true to the Biblical text and with guidance from the director, a participant may give voice to the thoughts or feelings of one of the characters that the he or she has imagined to be in the story. No acting experience is necessary just a desire to go deeper into the Biblical story. The Bibliodrama is a very rich experience for those actively participating in the Bibliodrama and those who chose to observe.