Arts & Faith: Advent—Third Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Arts & Faith: Advent

Each week of Advent, we’ll provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Advent.

The video and prayer for the Third Week of Advent, Cycle C, is based on Luke 3:10–18. The art is Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Preaching of St. John the Baptist.


Prepare for a period of meditation by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, and breathing deeply for a moment or two. Allow any present concerns to move across your mind and wait off to the side for now.

Mist of Your History

Allow your mind to fill with a gentle mist that represents time—the span of your life until this moment. The colors around you are soft, and you sense familiar atmosphere fill your lungs. This is your life, your history. More than that, it is the history of your heart’s journey toward God.

Now, in the quiet and the mist, ask yourself this question: Who are the people who helped me walk toward God? Wait a moment, and then follow with these questions:

  • Who gave me a safe place to be?
  • Who listened to me with great care and attention?
  • Who told me the truth, even when it was difficult?
  • Who introduced me to prayer, or worship, or Scripture?
  • Who talked to me about Jesus, or his mother, Mary, or God as loving parent?

Now invite images of faces to emerge from the mist—faces of the people who have accompanied you in your growing faith. Listen for the memory of their voices. Remain still as these images and voices come to you.

When a face or a voice emerges, whisper a prayer of thanks for that person. Pray for that person as he or she is now, whether living or dead.

When these faces and voices have faded, invite Jesus of Nazareth to come out of this mist of your history, to your present, right now. Perhaps you will not see or hear him now, but ready your heart for his coming in the days ahead.

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

About Vinita Hampton Wright 184 Articles
Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

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