In the previous post, I briefly described various aspects of Jesus’ personality and the different roles he plays in the Gospel accounts. I asked that you identify the role or roles you are most comfortable with or most attracted to. Also, identify the role(s) least attractive to you or that make you uncomfortable.
Now, use your imagination to sit down and have a conversation with Jesus. Choose the Jesus you are most comfortable with—maybe it’s the teacher or healer. If you wish, put yourself in a Gospel story setting with him. Imagine the countryside, the weather, how the people are dressed, what the air smells like, etc. Imagine who you are—a bystander? An interested member of a crowd he’s teaching? A person who comes to him for healing? Step into this encounter with Jesus, and see what happens.
If imagining first-century Palestine is too much of a stretch, bring Jesus to here and now. If he were a teacher today, where would you encounter him? Imagine that situation, and put yourself there.
Don’t worry about having an “accurate” imaginative scene; this is prayer, and the imagination is a powerful tool. Your spirit—working with the Holy Spirit—can take your imagination where it needs to go. Of course this isn’t a historical “real” conversation with Jesus. But it is quite real and true for you. Let it happen.
Here’s an additional challenge: Choose the Jesus you are least comfortable with—maybe the prophet or radical or mystic—and do the same kind of imaginative encounter. You may be surprised at what happens!
Blessings on these wonderful prayers you are about to have.
This post is a part of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, Week 6.
Thank you so much for having given me the incentive, and the confidence, for having released the means (my imagination) to have a conversation with the human Jesus. The divine has been overwhelming and way beyond reach for my limited human capabilities. But the human Jesus who knows anger, pain, frustration, as much as love, generosity and forgiveness… I cannot thank you enough.