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Home » 3 Faiths Together


15 November 2018 No Comment

Father John Walsh

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesuits, had his remarkable imagination drive the mental quality of his thought. Ignatius first grasped the importance of the imagination during his long convalescence from his battle injuries. His key insights about God came through his imagination. He understood the source of his feelings and it is the foundation of the process of Ignatian discernment. He continued to make liberal use of the imagination and integrated imaginative prayer into the approach to the spiritual life that he outlined in the Spiritual Exercises. The imagination becomes a tool to help us know and love God.
Ignatius presents two ways of imagining. The first way is to enter into the vision of God as he looks down on our turbulent world. We imagine God’s concern for the world. We see God intervening by living in the maelstrom of life. This type of imagining helps us see things from God’s perspective and take on God’s qualities of love, compassion, and understanding. The second method of imagining is to place ourselves fully within a story from the Bible. We become onlooker-participants and give full rein to our imagination.
We can walk through the Garden of Eden and see Eve and Adam as the hear the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Embark on the Ark with Noah and travel with two of each species of animals and imagine being among all that God will save for our well-being. Enter the pages of the Bible and accompany Abraham in his journey in faith and trust. Imagine being there.
Imaginative Ignatian prayer teaches us things about God that we would not learn through scripture study or theological reflection alone. As a Christian my imagination allows Jesus to penetrate into places that the intellect does not touch. It brings Jesus into our hearts. It engages our feelings. It enflames us with ideals of generous service.
The imagination is a tool to bring to life our spirituality. Our imagination is to live with others what we have lived with God. Imagine how the world could change.


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