Arts & Faith: Lent—First Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

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

The video and prayer for the First Week of Lent, Cycle C, are based on Luke 4:1–13. The art is the Limbourg brothers’ The Temptation of Christ.

Preparation

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.

Temptation

You are sitting in your own home, but it may as well be a wilderness for how you feel right now. Major needs in your life are crying out, and you are tempted on every side to do the wrong things to meet those needs. You have to be honest with God and say what you want. But part of you wants to turn away from God and do the easiest, quickest thing just to feel better.

Then you realize that Jesus is in this room with you. He sits down right beside you, places an arm gently across your shoulders, and speaks softly into your ear.

“When the enemy came and urged me to turn a stone into bread, I was literally beginning to starve. What I wanted most at that moment was bread still warm from the oven, the way it would taste and feel when my mother put it on the table. I had never been so hungry in my life.”

He pauses and then asks you, “What is your deepest hunger right now? Can you describe it to me?”

Take a moment to answer Jesus.

Then he continues: “I was just then beginning to understand the significance of my life on Earth, that God would bless nations through what I said and did. But in my mind, right then, I thought that meant that I must go to all the nations, that I needed to see them all for myself and speak to them directly. Yet I came from Nazareth! How would I travel the whole world to spread this news of God’s Salvation? And when the enemy showed me all the nations and peoples of the world, I thought how wonderful that I could reach them all, in that moment. I had good news, and I wanted to shout it from the heights so that the whole world would know! When the enemy offered all of that to me, he offered exactly what I thought I wanted and needed.”

He pauses and then asks you, “What good work in the world are you desperate to accomplish?”

Take a moment to answer Jesus.

Then he says: “Sometimes, after you have been given God’s vision of who you truly are, you are tempted to doubt it. You become almost desperate for confirmation. When the enemy told me to throw myself down so that the angels would rescue me—and confirm to me that I was God’s anointed—part of me really wanted to do it. This was a true temptation! I was being offered the assurance that I longed for at that point, at the beginning of my ministry, when I was tempted to think that I was delusional, that maybe I was not to be the Savior.”

He pauses and then asks you, “What assurance do you need so badly that you might seek it from the wrong people?”

Take a moment to answer Jesus.

Now, thank God the Father that Jesus the Son really does understand your struggles and that there is always a way out of temptation.

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.
Amen.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the video Arts & Faith: First Sunday of Lent.

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.

1 Comment on Arts & Faith: Lent—First Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

  1. These Arts & Faith imagery and meditations are so beautiful and I absolutely love the Arts and the explanations that tie it all together. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like this for every week of the year, not just Lent. Keep up you wonderful discipleship, I’m so inspired.

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