Arts & Faith: Lent—Third 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 Third Week of Lent, Cycle C, are based on Luke 13:1–9. The art is Alexey Pismenny’s Parable of the Fruitless Fig Tree.


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.

The Master Gardener

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your memory as you recall events that you wish had never happened. Some of them involve words you spoke or actions you took that you now regret. Some of these events were beyond your control, yet they affected you, and they were not pleasant—perhaps they were even harmful.

Do not ask why these things happened. Do not try to figure out if they had a purpose. Simply place these memories before Jesus the Christ, trusting in his mercy.

Watch as Jesus digs a circular trench. The trench surrounds a tree that is but a few years old. In this trench Jesus buries your regrets and covers them with soft, rich soil. He weeps as he works, and his tears water the ground that feeds this growing tree. You realize then that the tree is you—it is your life with all its history and all its possibilities. This tree is you, growing every day, facing storm and extreme temperatures, soaking up sunshine and rain.

And now you understand: although you have the freedom to choose and sometimes you choose unwisely, Jesus has committed to tending your life. As long as you stay rooted in God’s mercy, Jesus will make certain you flourish and bear fruit.

You are in the hands of the master gardener. Let go of your regrets. Trust the skill and love of the One who will not give up on you.

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.

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

6 Comments on Arts & Faith: Lent—Third Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

  1. Thank you all for your comments–they are encouraging to hear! So glad this site is helpful to you and your ministries.

  2. This reflection is so powerful. I could see the good soil taking nutrients from the decomposing regrets and using them to feed the growth of the tree. In His infinite mercy God helps us use even our most shameful deeds as a means of growth and renewal.

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