EXERCISE 14: The Practice – 3: Your imagination – an introduction to Gospel Contemplation:
This is an Exercise designed to reveal to you the power and usefulness of your imagination.
- Go into a room you are familiar with. Close your eyes. Turn 90 degrees.
- Now review in imagination what you would see around you from this perspective. Review the room in your mind’s eye.
- Now try imagining what your street, your classroom, your downtown, your friend’s room look like.
The importance is not so much your accuracy, but your ability to visualize.
What do you discover about the power of your imagination? What services does your imagination provide? When can imagination be useful? Unhelpful? Dangerous?
Now, take a passage from the Gospel – say Luke 5:17-25 – read it a few times, then close your eyes and see if you can imagine the scene in which the story unfolded. (If you can’t access a Bible, click here for the text) Can you imagine the sights? The sounds? The smells? Wander through the scene. See if you can spot Jesus. Who are you in the scene? What happens?
This is at the heart of Gospel Contemplation, one of the two main forms of contemplation using images (the other one is Lectio Divina, which you learned about earlier). Opening up to imaginative meanings in the Gospel is one of the best and most sacred uses of your imagination!
Be sure to document what has happened in your Gospel Contemplation – document the sights, the sounds, smells… who was there… who you were… what happened… Write about how you felt.