Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ignation Meditation

The Ignation Method

This form of meditation has quite a number of steps. Given a chance - it can be life changing. Besides Bible Study this method can be applied to all sorts of texts and situations.Ultimately we must move beyond the text, hermeneutics, theology and history and open hearts to the  living words themselves  to become trans formative.

When we lift up our souls to God, we are offering him Ourselves, Our minds, our hearts, our wills, our strengths and our weaknesses.  Saint Ignatius was a real expert in prayer and meditation. He was also an expert in people and their souls. So - although there are many variations and tailorings of his method, and they are all well worth investigating as we become more fluid in the basic method, here is the core of the matter. 

  Choose and read the subject over night. 
     Choose not more than three points on which to meditate. 
     On waking, recall the subject, and the grace to be prayed for. 
PREPARATION A few short preparatory prayers. They may be formal or not, as you please. 
First Prelude:  recalling the points of the subject or the reading. 
Second Prelude: use your imagination. Picture the scene, imagine you can hear the words. Sometimes it helps to imagine yourself as a character in the scene. If the passage has Our Lord speaking, imagine yourself as one of the disciples, a by stander, the woman at the well, someone eating the fish. Perhaps, if it is hard to understand, ask yourself what our Lord might have been feeling as he said this, what he was looking at. 
Third Prelude:  Prayer for grace, to love and serve God better. 

THE MEDITATION       Mind, Heart, Will. 
     + Apply your mind, recalling the significant episode or words. 
     + Apply your heart, entering into understanding of the meaning, the lessons, and the demands within the passage. 
Especially for Yourself
This may do you more harm than good if you find yourself finding all sorts of other people to understand this for. If our Lord is speaking of S adduces or Pharisees, at once ask yourself in what ways this applies to you - it doesn't matter if it applies to Jews or the members of the church down the road. It is his job, not yours, to speak to them. Right now he is speaking with you, and about you. It is your job to listen. 
      + Apply your will. Make a resolution. Nothing vague. This is something that should be done the same day. For no better reason than that you love God. Promising vaguely that you will try to be better with Aunt Edith doesn't cut it (grin) Go take her some vegetables.. 
      + Now for the good bit. There's a fancy and rather wonderful name. 

That's a conversation, talk it out with Him, whether he thinks you've got the right end of the stick, the points that are essential for you, is really important, so listen as well, you'll at least sense when he is nudging you towards a different interpretation. 
These acts of the will are the essential bit of the meditation. So test out your decisions and nudgings.

     CONCLUSION:      You won't feel like just getting up and walking away anyway. You may not even be able to. To ground yourself, and come back to earth, write down a few notes. Thank God for the insights you've had. Assess how 'well' you did, where your attention was. Then write down the decisions you've made and go and do them. 

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Choice of topic    
2. Preparatory prayer 
3. Composition of place 
4. Petition for special grace needed 
5. See and reflect 
6. Listen and reflect 
7. Consider and reflect 
8. Draw some practical fruit 
9. Colloquy with the Father and Jesus 
10. Closing with the Lord's Prayer

1. Choice of topic: the incarnation. 

2. Preparatory prayer

3. Composition of place: See the great extent of the world with its many different races; then see the particular house of Mary and its rooms in the town of Nazareth in the province of Galilee. 

4. Petition for special grace needed: "I ask for what I want: here I ask for interior knowledge of the Lord who became human for me so that I may better love and follow Him." 

5. See and reflect: "This is to see the various kinds of persons: first, those on the face of the earth, in all their diversity of dress and appearance, some white and some black, some in peace and others at war, some weeping and others laughing, some healthy, others sick, some being born and others dying, etc.: second, I see and consider the three divine Persons, as though They are on the royal throne of their Divine Majesty, how they look down on the whole round world and on all its peoples living in such great blindness, and dying and going down into hell; third, I see Mary and the Angel who greets her." 

6. Listen and reflect: "This is to hear what the people on the face of the earth talk about, i.e. how they talk with each other, how they swear and blaspheme, etc. In the same way what the Divine Persons are saying, viz., 'Let us bring about the redemption of the human race etc.' Then what the Angel and Mary are talking about." 

7. Consider and reflect: "Now I look at what the people on the face of the earth are doing, e.g. wounding, killing, and going to hell, etc., and in the same way, what the divine Persons are doing, that is, accomplishing the sacred Incarnation, etc., and similarly, what the Angel and Mary are doing, the Angel fulfilling his role of legate and Mary humbling herself and giving thanks to the Divine Majesty." 

8. Draw some practical fruit

9. Colloquy with the Father and Jesus: "I think about what I ought to be saying to the three Divine Persons, or to the eternal Word incarnate.... and I make a request, according to my inner feelings, so that I may better follow and imitate Our Lord, thus newly incarnate." 

10. Closing with the Lord's Prayer.

"Ignatian Meditation" is essentially the meditation style developed by Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises. It has lots of steps, and so it appeals to someone who likes structure,  In the middle of following the steps, however, one learns to let one's imagination run wild.

The irony of mixing strict rules and vivid imagination is just as much in the temperament as in the meditation. Practical types seem to glum onto this style of meditation once they get over any iconoclastic misgivings they may have about it.

Ironically, one of the most entertaining forms of Christian meditation is most appealing to the most practical and rules-oriented kind of people,

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