Thoughts on quotes from "Finding God in All Things," an episode on "On Being."
Fr. Martin: Yeah, so, the kind of prayer you're talking about is often called Ignatian contemplation or Ignatius calls it “composition of place.” And it's using your imagination to place yourself within a scripture scene and to see what comes up. By way of emotions or feelings or desires. And it can be very transformative. So for example, you take a simple passage like the storm at sea. Jesus calming the storm at sea. You would ask the person, on your own or maybe in a guided meditation, imagine yourself on the boat with Jesus.What do you see, first of all? What's the boat look like? What do the disciples look like? What's Jesus look like? What do you hear? What are the waves like? What do you feel? You feel the cold water on your back? What do you smell? Is there a smell of fish? What do you experience in terms of like what you're wearing? And you basically trust that God's going to be with you, 'cause, you know, God created your imagination and it's an entrée into experiencing God.
And you notice what happens. And, oftentimes, not always, some pretty amazing things can come up. For example, you see Jesus asleep in the boat. And, you start to realize, wow, why is he asleep? Doesn't he care? You might connect it with something in your own life. You know, why is Jesus asleep? Why does God not care about me right now? You see him do the miracle and still the storm, and you say to yourself, wow, that's really beautiful. Are there times in my life where I was worried that God was asleep and things worked out OK? Do I need to have more trust? So, those kinds of feelings can come up.My favorite part of this exchange is where Krista Tippett says about Jesus, "where he was a good boy and did what his mother told him to do." How funny that she thought of that! And how typical of a mom. It really makes Jesus human. Mary, too. And it makes me laugh.
And for Pete's sakes, His first miracle was at a party. A wedding party.
Krista Tippett: Mm-hmm. Where he was a good boy and did what his mother told him to do.
Fr. Martin: (laughs) That's right.
Krista Tippett: ...[laughs] That's what I appreciate about that story.
Fr. Martin: Although he's pretty harsh with his mother. That's a great story.
Krista Tippett: But he did turn the water into wine.
Fr. Martin: He did eventually.
Krista Tippett: If he'd been thinking about his legacy, he might not have had that as his first miracle, but his mother asked him to do it.
Fr. Martin: ...[laughs] I never thought of that. Right? He wanted another first miracle.
Krista Tippett: ...[laughs] I'm doing an Ignatian, you know, I'm being in the story.
Fr. Martin: And you know what's great about that, what you just said? Who knows, that could have been it. I mean, that's one of the things that comes up in Ignatian contemplation. You focus on Mary, and you say...for example, in the wedding feast at Cana what is she thinking? And you can get into the story and say what's going on there? And yeah, who knows? He's a joyful person, and I think if we miss the joy in Christianity, we are missing the point.
This kind of Ignatian contemplation, where we use "our imagination to place yourself within a scripture scene and to see what comes up," sounds intriguing to me. I haven't tried it yet. I love it that Fr. Martin (and Ignatius) says, "God created your imagination and it's an entrée into experiencing God." I had not thought of imagination that way. And it seems to me that often people think Christians are an unimaginative bunch.
I'm going to decide what passage to use to try this. Peter is my fave; maybe I should do a passage he's in. For some reason the fig tree thing keeps coming to my mind. That was an odd one. Anyway, I'll let you know.
Have you ever tried imagining yourself in a passage? What passage did you use? What thoughts and insights came to your mind?
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