HomeIgnatian PrayerArts & Faith: Lent—Third Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Arts & Faith: Lent—Third Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Arts & Faith: Lent logoEach 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.

Vinita Hampton Wright
Vinita Hampton Wrighthttp://www.loyolapress.com/authors/vinita-hampton-wright
Vinita Hampton Wright edited books for 32 years, retiring in 2021. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places and spirituality books Days of Deepening Friendship, The Art of Spiritual Writing, Small Simple Ways: An Ignatian Daybook for Healthy Spiritual Living, and, most recently, Set the World on Fire: A 4-Week Personal Retreat with the Female Doctors of the Church. Vinita is a spiritual director and continues to facilitate retreats and write fiction and nonfiction. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and a cat in Springdale, Arkansas.


  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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