Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

7/15/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Blog

This Is The Way; Walk In It

Image of 'No matter which way you go, go with me' says the Lord.

By Jackie Stammen

My heart seems to be in a continuous state of pondering the many questions scattered and spinning around in my head. I guess all hearts do this - or perhaps assuming so is my way of rationalizing my little bit of crazy. NASHVILLE, TN - Mondays are usually a battle for ... continue reading


The Secret to Raising a Saint

Image of Make your family life the best it can be, through love and Faith.

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Comparing their family to mine, I noted how soft-spoken and gentle they all were. From modest, tidy clothes to neat hair styles, their five children always appeared well groomed and respectful. Whereas (in my estimation), my brood of eight off-spring are more often ... continue reading


Dear Younger Self, Here's 5 Things You Don't Need to Worry About

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

If I could go back and counsel my younger self, here are the top 5 Do's and Don't s I'd offer:* 1 Don't worry so much about appearances.* 2 Don't try to raise a star athlete, concert pianist, math wizard, novelist, ballerina, and black-belted karate kid.* 3 Don't do ... continue reading


Witnessing Miracles - Visualize all that God has Prepared for Those who Love Him

Image of 1 Corinthians 2:9 says,

By Shelly A. Schneider

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualize; all that God has prepared for those who love him." NASHVILLE, TN - As a human being, there are things of this world that I do not know or understand: disease, ... continue reading


Wrestling with the Human Teenage Brain Watch

Image of Developmentally, teens and early 20-somethings are not at the place where they are concerned about (or even thinking of) the consequences of their behavior.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Christopher, our oldest, has come such a long way. At 22, he is serving his country as a soldier in the United States Army. Jim and I are incredibly proud of how he has grown in spirit, mind and body over the last 18 months. He has a plan for his life and is ... continue reading


S is for Shelly...and Sinner

Image of 'S' is for Sinner & Saint.

By Shelly A. Schneider

You've heard of the 'Scarlet Letter,' right? The woman in the novel wore a large red, 'A' on her person to signify her act of adultery.  NASHVILLE, TN - My act so many years ago had nothing to do with adultery, but I'm walking around these days with a giant ... continue reading


Laugh Today. Laugh Often. Laugh Heartily. Watch

Image of Woman laughing out loud.

By Jackie Stammen

It is always astounding to me how therapeutic laughter is. Laughter brings happiness. NASHVILLE, TN - Years ago I spent a lot of time with someone who would make fun of my laugh. I have a loud, hearty, and recognizable (maybe an even embarrassing laugh) and I guess he ... continue reading


Abortion: A Litmus Test for Believers Watch

Image of Pregnant? - Choose Life

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN

August 3rd, 2015, was a tragic day in the life of Americans on both sides of the abortion debate, as the Senate voted 53-46 to continue funding Planned Parenthood. Both the abortion industry and US politicians have recently been exposed in America as ... continue reading


Christ has put us on earth to act as beacons that give light

Image of St. John Chrysostom - Feastday September 13

By Michael Seagriff

As we bemoan the apparent disintegration of the moral fiber and structure of this once great nation, we most recognize our own significant contributions to this tragic outcome - remaining silent in the face of evil, reluctance and fear to teach and defend the ... continue reading


Holy Spirit, watch over my children as they drive! Watch

Image of I pray for my children's safety every time they get behind the wheel.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Christopher and Michael have their driver's licenses, and our 17-year-old daughter, Sam, will test for the license any day now. There are so many thoughts that bounce around in my head when I realize that the person sitting next to me in the Mocha Machine (our pet name ... 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, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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