Saturday, October 10, 2015

Spirituality: Ignatian Contemplation

After we have positioned ourselves in prayer, we typically begin our prayer time with Scripture, which tells us the ongoing story of God’s love relationship with us. Scripture roots us in charity and launches us into the heart of prayer, which is conversation. We place ourselves before God to receive mercy. We ask God to “See me, feel me, hear me, and to know what I am feeling.” We ask God to feel what we feel, in order to experience God’s solidarity with us. It is natural then to tell God how we feel.

When we really, truly contemplate Jesus in Scripture, something extraordinary happens. As we fix our eyes on him and his behavior, all the stuff on October 11, 2015 comes rushing up in front of our eyes. Naturally, we try to dismiss those thoughts because we want to focus upon Jesus and not ourselves. What is happening though is that Jesus is bringing up all the stuff of our lives to look at with him. All the stuff that remains in our unconsciousness is able to come to the surface. This is the stuff of prayer where we will grow in comprehension, acceptance, and love of self. This is the personal domain of prayer. We begin to learn of the unique ways Jesus relates to us. The tenor of his voice, his facial gestures, and his behaviors become familiar to us and we can detect those patterns in future prayers. Prayer becomes very satisfying once we get over the fear of encountering ourselves in the silence. Remember that fear is not faith. Silence, which at first seems frightening will be something for which your seek more often as you grow in appreciation of yourselves and in love for Jesus.