Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

7/15/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

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


By Deacon Ian VanHeusen

Catholic Online (

7/15/2014 (2 years 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 ( 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

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


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

Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.


More Blog

A Plea To Save Lives and Souls

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

This is not a political post. It is a moral exhortation, a plea to save human lives and souls!Speaking the Truth should not be a rarity in the pulpits of our country. Since the salvation of souls is the primary purpose of the Catholic Church's existence, Truth ... continue reading

Better Is One Day In Your Court Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

If you had a choice to be anywhere, where would you pick? The beach? The city? A deserted island? The forest? According to the psalmist who wrote Psalm 84, the court of the Lord is the best place. Matt Redman has put Psalm 84 to music in his song Better Is One Day. The ... continue reading

Our Lady of the Rosary, Adoration and My Friend Mike Watch

Image of 'The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known...'

~Archbishop Fulton Sheen

By Michael Seagriff

We celebrated the memorial of our Lady of the Rosary on October 7, which was instituted by Pope Pius V. He attributed the naval victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 to the Blessed Mother's intercession after the Christian world sought her aid through ... continue reading

Pinky, My Black Baby

Image of

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

My abuela, aka grandmother, had faced injustice in her life. She'd felt the sting of rejection, yet rather than disavow injustice, she passed it on. Standing there in the aisle of Toys 'R Us, my eyes darted left then right. It was such a hard decision; choosing how to ... continue reading

Behold! The Lamb Of God!

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

I have attended Mass in probably 25 to 30 different Catholic churches over the past 35 years, including the Basilica in Rome when the Pope celebrated Mass. The churches have been in several different countries, as well as across the US. I've heard Mass in Spanish, ... continue reading

Allelulia! Love Is Alive! Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of love. He lived his life demonstrating acts of love and mercy as an example for us all. As a reward for his love, he was crucified. Little did his executioners know or understand that his death, necessary to redeem our sins, heralded ... continue reading

Book Review: Encountering The Manuscripts

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

I never gave much thought as to how the New Testament came to be written. I had assumed that someone carefully compiled the various writings sometime in the late 1st century, and that an intact New Testament existed from that time. That being said, I was frequently ... continue reading

Jesus Loves You: Trust in Him!

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC

There is so much to prayer beyond simply asking God for all that we need in this life. When we trust in Jesus, and subsequently praise and worship Him for all that He is, we are surprisingly and profoundly filled with hope for today and eternity, we encounter sublime ... continue reading

Who Am I

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Humble people often have times in their lives when they receive an honor that they think they did not deserve. This praise may lead them to ask the question "who am I to deserve this?" They consider themselves unworthy of the glory for whatever reason and they question ... continue reading

The Storm of Resistance

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

The powerful winds swirled and twisted around my body as I stood there motionless. It danced so close to me, yet left me completely unscathed. It circled round me as if I was the eye of it's existence standing there in it's center completely calm and at peace. My arms ... continue reading

All Blog News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:1-9
1 Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord -- that is what ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:10-11, 12-13, 13-14
10 All your creatures shall thank you, Yahweh, and your faithful shall ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:22-30
22 Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 26th, 2016 Image

St. Bean
October 26: On December 16, there is named in the Roman ... Read More