Arts & Faith: Easter Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Canterbury Cathedral, detail of Redemption Window (center), Corona Chapel, East End Corona I, detail of the Resurrection of Christ, Gothic stained glass, c. 1200–1207, England. Image: Photographer Allan Kohl. Used with permission from Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art & Architecture.Happy Easter! Today, we provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by the Arts & Faith: Easter video. The video and prayer for Easter Sunday are based on John 20:1–9. The art is an early 13th-century stained-glass depiction of the Resurrection in Canterbury Cathedral’s Corona Chapel.


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 Path

You realize how bright it is all around you. You blink a few times and then see that you are on a hill outdoors. You stand there in the breeze and sunshine, and slowly turn to take in your surroundings. To your horror, you see, directly behind you, another rise of the land and scaffolding on top of it—this is where Jesus was crucified. As those gruesome images come back to you, someone touches your shoulder lightly.

You turn to see Jesus standing there, smiling. He is not bloody. He is not a corpse. And he’s not a ghost—his hand still rests on your shoulder, and it’s a real hand. In fact, you notice the deep scar where the spike was driven. This is Jesus, risen from the dead. You know this, but it’s still quite unbelievable.

Then he turns you away from the scaffolding to look in the opposite direction. It’s mid-spring, and the hills are greening. In this part of the world, for a brief week or two, all sorts of wildflowers bloom at once and turn the hills vivid with color. That is happening now. Jesus, his hand still on your shoulder, is motioning toward the spring scene with the other hand. “Look!” he says.

“Yes, Lord,” you say. “Everything is new.”

“But there’s more.” He points a bit to the left of center, and you see a thin path running up and over one hill after another.

“I see,” you say. “A path.”

“Not just any path,” he says. “This is your path.”

“Really?” You strain to see the end of the path, far, far from here. “Where does it go?”

“I can’t tell you that. You can learn the way only by walking it.”

“You mean, I must trust the path to God. It’s my choice to put my feet on it and walk.”

His smile grows and seems to add light to the day. “I had to trust my path to God, too.”

“It went some pretty bad places.”

“Yes, but the Father was there.”

“But I’m not you, Jesus. I’m not as faithful or strong or close to the Father.”

“The Spirit goes with you. And grace will be at every turn.”

Jesus hugs you—a long, reassuring, joyful embrace—and then bids you goodbye and walks off in another direction. He turns his head enough to call back to you: “I’ll be with you too!”

You can see that the path—your path—begins just a few yards from where you stand. You go to that starting place and raise up on tip-toes, hoping to see at least the first few twists and turns of your future. But the hill just ahead hides all this information. You are left with the simple question:

Will I go, or stay here?

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.


  1. I am so grateful for the meditation on the art work, how beyond a tomb, and my own tombs in life also, lies freedom, hope and possibility. The calm, composed, confident stability of the Christ who has risen is my center and I can know and lean and have joy in him. Even in the midst of everything not being ‘what I need it to be.’

    I am so grateful to have a walk of faith presented then in the story of Jesus touching me on my shoulder with his real hands. It immediately brought close to me what walking means, when I am really afraid. Will I ? I may be afraid, but with the trinity surrounding me I will…. I am not alone.
    Thank you..I was finding it hard to connect with myself and with Easter and with my God. But with your help I have.

  2. I so look forward to the Art and Faith meditations! I often wish there were more. The artwork brings forth a contemplative experience and appreciation that I have not taken advantage of before. Thank you!

  3. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for offering this opportunity to pray in such an imaginative way….both with Vinita’s relfection and with the beautiful narrative explaing the signficance of the images in the stained glass windows….somethings have “broken open” for me. Thank you, thank you.

  4. Thank you so much for this, a vivid way to see my path onward with God – on which I know I will stumble, but with great reassurance of His presence.

  5. Many thanks for this and all the Easter Prayer Exercises. I am still getting used tot he idea of imagining myself in the story but thanks for your help. I pray that I will take the path even though I know I will stumble along the way. Jesus has promised to be with me. I thank God for that


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