Ignatian Contemplation

Prayer using the imagination is a pillar of the Ignatian spiritual tradition. In its most common form, you take a passage from scripture, usually one of the gospels, and immerse yourself in it imaginatively using all the senses. You feel the heat of the day, smell the livestock and clouds of dust on the road, listen to Jesus’ words, watch his actions. It’s a way to engage the gospel personally, with all of our faculties.

Creighton University’s online ministries site has an excellent section on imaginative prayer, including a helpful article on how to get started. Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, explains it in this short video.

About Jim Manney 787 Articles
Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (God Finds Us, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality? He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

6 Comments on Ignatian Contemplation

  1. I have always prayed this way even more so when I am disciplined but its how I talk to God I was given a good imagination from Our Father and taght that Imagination is ba, but I knew that whatever is bad is just the Devil deforming what God made to be very good… Im just so tickled to hear this on EWTN that there is an actual name for this type of prayer..Single Mom never been married son Occean 12 daughter Olivia 13 I’m 33 living in the Desert active at St. Anns finally after attending and enjoying several other churches back home for the 5th serious year back in the church were I attended elementary and learned received my sacraments the church I was baptized in by Father Cleary a great Irish preist who now has alziemers…. God Bless you and thank you for a great website…I posted on facebook

  2. Yesterday, while i was in the middle of contemplating and hearing the priest who celebrated the mass, i felt an intense rumbling down my stomach and wanting just to leave without finishing the mass. But the priest’s homily was more than a storm, full of dynamism that i could not just leave to hear him as best I could. Later, the rumbling and pain in my stomach stopped, and thus finished the mass.

    Today, as I contemplated Jesus disciples storm at sea, the winds and waves that were kicking up in my stomach yesterday at the mass, yet later it calmed, I do believe that Jesus really does have authority to let me go through the trials, but also has the power to help me stand up and calm those waves when i turn to him in faith. Just as much as the disciples were amazed when he calmed the storm.

    Thank you Lord.

  3. I used this method in reciting rosary and often experienced as if i was there , seeing , feeling it real. Once i was at the garden of agony and the question came to me ” where was mother Mary and how she felt if she knew Jesus being arrested”. Then a sharp pain like a knife cut into my heart and i could not continue reciting the rosary for a few seconds and the group of friends continued to pray loudly and i joined the prayer after a pause for deep breathing . I always believe this experience is so painful and real, thank god no bleeding physically.

  4. I thought everyone prayed and contemplated that way… Then how does everyone else pray? Do they just imagine printed word?

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