As a particular focus of Lent is a return to Prayer, I thought it might be helpful to remind ourselves of some different patterns of private prayer, drawn from the Church’s rich treasury.
Many find it helps to set aside a particular time for prayer each day, say 15 minutes initially. Find somewhere quiet, where you can be focussed and still. You may wish to light a candle, and to have a crucifix or an icon close by; if you are able, you may care to burn some incense. Spend the first few moments breathing carefully, laying aside the busy-ness and cares of the day, letting yourself come consciously into the presence of God.
This week I offer a model of imaginative prayer and reflection, a particular pattern drawn from the practice of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Those who like to think in pictures and images often find this way of praying helpful.
Choose a bible reading: as with lectio divina, it may be the Gospel for the day. Gospel passages are especially appropriate for this reflection. When you have entered the stillness, read slowly through the passage two or three times. Imagine the scene in your mind’s eye. Then allow yourself to become part of the scene, the drama. If you are drawn to a particular character, see yourself as that person: what does it feel like, how might you respond to the situation, how is God speaking to you?
Take, for example, the encounter between Jesus, Martha and Mary, (Luke 10.38-42), where Martha does all the work while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. If you sense an affinity with Martha, how would you feel in the situation: angry, frustrated, put out? You wanted to listen to Jesus too . . . How would you respond to Jesus’ words, seemingly approving of Mary? Conversely, what would it feel like to be Mary, able to sit listening to Jesus? How would you respond to your sister’s anger, and Jesus’ response?
Then, still in character, reflect on how you relate to people today? How is Jesus prompting you to behave with those closest to you? Then read through the passage once again. You may be guided to make a resolution, or a special prayer.
Every blessing on this Laetare, Refreshment, Sunday,
Download the Sunday booklet here: Liturgy at Home Lent 4 Mar 14 2021