Novena to St. Ignatius Loyola – Applying the Senses – Eighth Day – July 30
With Christ in Real Time
For St. Ignatius, the spiritual journey is a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and into the very life of Christ. The application of the sense is a type of prayer that is just the opposite of a “mind trip.” Here are some excerpts from Fr. Bob Gilroy, SJ, a Jesuit priest who is an artist, art therapist, hospital and jail chaplain and his beautiful site Prayer Windows.
Becoming Free for God’s Sake
In many ways, Ignatius helps retreatants paint a picture with the mind and senses. The aim of his manual was to inspire people, so that they could enflesh the Gospel of Jesus Christ and live their lives for God and others. This methodology heightened one’s awareness of personal weaknesses and strengths in order to know how best to serve others. The object is to undergo conversion in order to be free for God’s sake.
Composition of Place: An Example
For example, let us look at a selection from the second phase of the Spiritual Exercises, called “The Blind Beggar.” (Fig.15) As I prayed with Mk 10:46-52, which is the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man, I began to imagine the landscape of the setting. It was dry, hot and dusty as I found myself being Bartimaeus, sitting by the roadside. I can smell the animals as they pass by and hear people’s voices in the background. Then I realize from the conversation that Jesus is near, so I cry out to him. I hear the footsteps of someone I believe to be Jesus approach me. I become filled with eager anticipation. Jesus is so close I feel his breath on my face and I hear him say, “I trust you. If there is anything you want to tell me I will listen to you.”
At this point in my life I was wondering whether to consider other job opportunities. As I revealed my fears and hopes in prayer, I felt more freedom to continue looking for confirmation to remain in my present situation. I was asking to see how I could grow spiritually in order to help others by encountering Jesus in a deeper way. This was one example of Jesus restoring my sight in order to follow him.
The revelation of God through the stories of Jesus is made present through imaginative participation. The mind engages the heart. As Hugo Rahner comments, “… the aim of this mode of prayer is to make the events of salvation ‘present’ in the mind, and thus to attain that direct experience.” Ignatian Prayer Windows
What scene in the life of Christ is your favorite. Spend some time there, in the moment, with the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of the instant. What does Christ say and do to you and for you. How do you respond?
St. Ignatius, you signed your letters “pobre de bondad,” poor in goodness, and called yourself a pilgrim. Please pray for me to be open to what God is calling me to do to announce and build up the kingdom. Transform my petitions into questions of discernment and pray for us to remember that all of our true needs and desires are already known to God. Pray that I be taken beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.
In your writings and by your example we are reminded to pray for the Church and the Holy Father, for all who dwell in darkness, and for the millions lacking food, water, and other necessities. We join our prayer with yours for true openness so that we can contemplate the Divine presence in all things and praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord in action.Pray for us to have the courage to meet and to serve the Lord Jesus in the poor and the suffering.
Praise be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Now and Forever. Amen.