Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

7/15/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Imagination and Prayer

The imagination is powerful. It can either be a friend that helps us to imagine and explore the possibilities of a fruitful life, or it can be devastating enemy that keeps us ensnared in a tangled web of illusions, fears, and anxieties.


Through prayer our imaginations can be healed and elevated by the work of the Holy Spirit

Through prayer our imaginations can be healed and elevated by the work of the Holy Spirit

Highlights

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/15/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: imaginative prayer, Ignatian spirituality, healing, God, faith, prayer,


ELIZABETH CITY, NC - Growing in intimacy with Jesus Christ is not about ignoring or eliminating our imaginations in favor of some kind of esoteric state, but rather is about letting our imagination be one of the means by which we enter into relationship with God.

Let all aspects of our created nature, our imagination needs to be healed, purified, and directed by the light of the Gospel. In our contemporary culture, often our imaginations are bombarded by violent and sexual images that prevent us from experiencing the inner stillness of the Spirit. Instead of harmony existing within our interior lives, confusion and disordered attachments keep us from authentic happiness.

Prayer is powerful, light your virtual candle now.

The answer is to let our imaginations be healed and elevated through the work of the Holy Spirit. One way that this healing can take place is by using our imagination for meditation. The master of this kind of prayer is St. Ignatius of Loyola. In the context of giving retreats, he developed insights into how our imaginations work and how they can help foster intimacy with Jesus Christ. His retreats walk participants through a series of scenarios, each of which are designed to bring participants closer to Christ.

But that does not mean that we should only use our imagination for prayer during an Ignatian retreat. Our imaginations are an important tool that can help us day in and day out. As we experience reality and filter it through our interior dialogue, we must take time to explore our experience in the context of an on-going relationship with Jesus Christ. This exploration involves two interconnected avenues of discovery. First, we discover who God is and how he has worked in our lives and in the world. This in turn leads us to discover our true identity which can only be understood in the purifying light of the Gospel.

This exploration opens us to the promptings of the Spirit and leads us to the fruits of communion. Our lives begin to become marked by greater peace and happiness in the midst of our daily struggles. This does not mean that our troubles disappear, but rather we receive the nourishment and strength to participate in Christ's unconditional love in the midst of our suffering. Our imaginations thus give us the freedom to explore this unconditional love and experience the consolation of the Spirit.   

To integrate imaginative prayer into your routine, there are a variety of excellent sources. In particular, I recommend the work of Fr. Timothy Gallagher. I have also posted a short guide to imaginative meditation on my website (http://www.contemplatio.us/a-guide-to-imaginative-prayer/). Hopefully, this can be some small suggestions that get you started. 

Deacon Ian VanHeusen is studying to be a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, NC. He writes regularly on his blog www.contemplatio.us.

Through Prayer & Action you can do good in this world.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Blog

Are You being a Jerk?

Image of Ask yourself this question? When you are angry or short-tempered, would it be easy for others to write you off as a jerk?

By Jackie Stammen

It's not an uncommon occurrence, one person is hurt by another and so the one doing the hurting is simply written off with, "he's a jerk." Simple as that, no changing anyone's mind. Do we ever consider why he might be acting like a jerk? Do we ever give a second ... continue reading


The Powerful Humility of Mothers

Image of Like Mary, mothers are powerful with God. They are the true definition of tough and will let nothing stand in the way of the good of their children

By James Littleton

God gives mothers whatever good they ask for their children. Why? Because they are humble. They are living signs of humility and only the humble are filled with God.  Jesus also gifts mothers with a share of His sorrows and passion to be applied to the salvation ... continue reading


Think Before You Speak and Always Choose Better Words

Image of Think before you speak - you might regret your words.

By Jackie Stammen

A thought pops into my mind. Said thought exits my mouth. I often find myself word vomiting as such. Just because a thought enters my mind, does not mean that it needs to exit my mouth. Filter, Jackie, filter. I've become acutely aware that I often speak too much. I ... continue reading


Exposing Couples' Genuine Fears in Family Planning

Image of It's amazing how fear has the potential to overpower in some cases or to protect in others.

By Tara Brelinsky

Quite often the women have been controlling their cycles with hormonal birth control or contraceptive devices. These 'outside forces' have led to the perception that fertility, or at least its suppression, is the responsibility of some 'thing' not the individual ... continue reading


The Nitty Gritty on Birth Control

Image of This 4th installment in the post series discussing womanhood and the need to rethink birth control, addresses the ramifications of contraceptives on the body and the healthy alternatives to family planning.

By Tara Brelinsky

From sensitivities to allergies and everything in between, there's an increased awareness of how what we put into our bodies affects our well-being. Labels contain ingredient lists and restaurants highlight low calorie menu items to aid consumers.This 4th ... continue reading


The Difference Between Two Generations

Image of Simple conversation with friends and family brings joy.

By Jackie Stammen

Always a welcoming feeling, I plopped down on the living room couch at my grandparent's house while I was in Ohio for Thanksgiving this past November. A happy little fire warmed the room and expanded the smile on my face. There are few things I love more on a cold day ... continue reading


Why I Hate the March for Life: But Why I Must Continue to Put Feet on the Ground Watch

Image of for 42 years, faithful men, women and children have come forth to speak with unrestrained lips, giving testimony with footsteps, to the glory of God and His creations, born and unborn. And though we may tire of the task, feel un-welcomed, discouraged or overwhelmed we must and will continue to carry our signs, hold fast to our convictions and march forward until the day when every life matters according to the law and in every heart.

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

My husband asked me just last week how it is that I can still maintain a sense of shock and naivete whenever events like the Republicans' refusal to stand by their public convictions occur. I pointed out that hope causes me to invest in goodness, to believe that ... continue reading


There is a Sensitive Heart in Dire Need of Love Behind Every Cold, Strong Facade

Image of We all long to love and be loved.

By Jackie Stammen

The heart has basic needs. Not just my heart, but all hearts. As humans we often desire many things, but I've become incredibly aware of the root of all desires. The most simplistic way to express the deepest desire of each person is that we all long to love and be ... continue reading


Keeping You In The Dark: How Big Pharma Profits From Ignorance

Image of Don't be in the dark, do your research on all medications that your doctor prescribes. Be aware of the side effects.

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

'Knowledge is Power' was a theme song lyric in one of my favorite childhood programs. Indeed, knowledge is a powerful tool and with it we can make right choices. Unfortunately, there's not much education going on in the gynecologist's office. And I'd even boldly ... continue reading


Patience is United With Love

Image of Marriage is a Sacrament based in love and commitment.

By Jackie Stammen

'Patience cannot be proved in any way other than suffering, and patience is united with love.'From 'Little Talks With God' by St. Catherine of Siena NASHVILLE, TN - In essence, love cannot be proved without patience or suffering. In today's world it's easy to ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:32-39
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
3 Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:26-34
26 He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 30th, 2015 Image

St. Aldegunais
January 30: Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter