New Year’s Daydreaming

What if instead of starting with New Year’s resolutions, we began with New Year’s daydreaming? January is a time when I eagerly peruse the newly arrived seed catalogues for ideas for springtime plantings. Where I live in the Northeast, the ground is cold and it’s still a long ways off to seed planting in spring. Under the huddle of a warm blanket, my imaginary garden is filled with bright dahlias, plentiful peonies, dramatic roses, and […]

A Week of Gratitude: Imagination

Editor’s note: This week we celebrate a pre-Thanksgiving Week of Gratitude, with Loyola Press authors sharing reflections on gratitude each day. My two young sons pretend their bunk bed is a spaceship and they climb aboard, ready to blast off. On another day, a line of dining room chairs becomes a train, headed for adventure. I’m fixing dinner when my older son walks sideways through the kitchen, opening and closing his hands like castanets. “I’m […]

Halloween and Imagination

Whether you love Halloween or hate it, the holiday is a popular one. People love to dress up and pretend to be something else for the day. Do we ever stop to think about what we’re really pretending to be, or if we could use our imagination for greater benefit? Some people say they have no imagination, but then they go out and pretend on Halloween. That’s a grand night of imagination. Whether sharing stories […]

Imagine: A Lesson from Science Class

This spring I am teaching an introductory course in quantum mechanics. It’s a tough course. The concepts bely my students’ everyday experience—electrons that can tunnel through space and systems that consume energy only in fixed amounts, no matter how high you turn up the power on the laser. The mathematical apparatus can be equally mysterious. Partial differential equations sprout families of answers, while Hermitian operators somehow wring real information from imaginary functions. The biggest challenge […]

Composition of Place on My Patio

As the weather improves and we bid farewell to what always feels like a long, cold winter, the backyard patio quickly becomes the most important “room” in our house. We all find ourselves drawn outside to read, share a cool beverage, have a nice chat, or just soak in some sun. We spend a lot of time on the patio, and many great family memories are created right here in our backyard. As I sat […]

Using Imagination to Learn to Let Go

At, Susan Bailey wonders, “How can we hope to forget what we can’t forgive? How can we learn to let go of those words and actions that weigh us down and block that life-giving joy that God so wants us to receive?” She finds an answer in Ignatian imagination and shares her prayer, which begins: It was the end of the day and the sky was orange, reflecting the setting sun. The air was […]

Celebrating Imagination

Eric Ramirez, SJ, is in favor of a feast day for our imaginations, as he writes at The Jesuit Post. I do not think that the opposite of imagination is reality. Far from it. The opposite of imagination is cynicism and boredom; they are influences that deny reality (cynicism) or escape it (boredom). They blind us to the beauty of human experience or lead us to distract ourselves with shallow, unsatisfying elements of it. We […]

Natural Phenomenon as Metaphors for God

What does it take for people to use their imaginations to turn natural phenomenon into metaphors for God? St. Ignatius realized his lively imagination gave him insights about God and he encouraged those on retreat with him to plumb those depths as well. Too many people think they don’t have the imagination necessary for Ignatian prayer. But the above-quoted article by Dr. Susan Mountin suggests that one way we’re already using imagination to recognize God […]

A Prayer Exercise: Imagination

Here’s an exercise to stimulate your imagination.  It’s by Vinita Wright, a friend and colleague and blogger at Days of Deepening Friendship. What is the most imaginative thing you’ve ever done? Who is the most imaginative person you know, and how would you describe that person’s life and work?  . . . What are your deep desires today? Or, what is your deep dissatisfaction? Imagination is at the root of creation. What kind of work […]

A Framework for Contemplation

This is an approach to imaginative prayer proposed by Joseph Tetlow, SJ, I come into God’s presence and feel His loving gaze, and then I offer myself completely to God. First, I recall for a moment some details of the particular part of sacred history that I am going to pray about. Second, I compose myself in the scene I am going to contemplate, or in the place where it takes place. Third, I ask […]

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