Do not let your hearts be troubled. 

The disciples had more than enough reason to be troubled.   Jesus was telling them that he was about to leave and that the “ruler of this world” was on his way.   But while the disciples were troubled, Jesus was happy.   He knew that his departure would bring them peace.   With Jesus at the Father’s right hand, he could pour his Spirit into their hearts, and the Spirit would reveal God’s love to them in new and deeper ways.   Thus would their anxious hearts be put to rest.

How can we come to know God’s love in the same way that the disciples did?   How can we experience the peace that Jesus promised them?   The key lies in prayer.   The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that prayer should engage “thought, imagination, emotion, and desire”.   Mobilizing our God-given faculties in this way can bring the truths of our faith to life and help us feel God’s presence in new ways.   Prayer works best when we ask the Holy Spirit to take our imagination and fill it with insight.

St. Ignatius of Loyola often relied on his imagination when he prayed.   With a Bible before him, he would picture the setting and time of whatever story he was reading, and then imagine himself in the scene.   He would pay close attention to the details in the scene and imagine himself asking Jesus questions about what was going on.   He especially liked to picture himself in the Last Supper, at the Sermon on the Mount, or on Calvary as Jesus was dying on the cross.

Try it yourself.   Imagine yourself at one of Ignatius’ favorite scenes, or one of your own.   What is Jesus saying and doing?   What is the expression on his face?   What does his voice sound like?   Now, imagine Jesus talking directly to you as the scene is playing out.   What message do you think he has for you?   And more importantly, what does his peace feel like now?

word among us

 

word among us – 5/1/18