Think of the Ignatian Method — named after Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) — as a sort of virtual experience of the scripture where you read the scripture and then create in your mind a short film about what you read.
You use your imagination to enter into the reading, asking yourself …
- What do I see and hear? What do I smell, taste, or touch?
- Who are the characters and what’s going on with them?
- If I were in this movie, what role would I play?
- If I were Jesus in this story, what would I be thinking, feeling, saying?
In the Ignatian Method, you enter into the story so that you can learn more about and participate more fully in the mind, the heart, and the work of Christ. It encourages detachment from either ego-driven success or fear-motivated anxiety, leaving the soul free to obey God’s stirrings.
Generally, Ignatian prayer works best with narrative material in which actual characters live a story of faith. The idea is to place yourself into the text as a careful observer — a fly on the wall. Ignatius commended the use of the five senses in such meditation. You taste, hear, see, smell and feel your way through the passage. Occasionally you become one of the characters, seeing the story unfold from his or her viewpoint. Most of all, the aim is to help you perceive the narrative from the viewpoint of Jesus so that you may more fully participate in his mind, heart, and work.1
1From “Meeting God in Scripture” by J. Steven Harper in The Spiritual Formation Bible, pp. 1088ff. © Zondervan Corporation, 1999. © 2007 The Upper Room. Used by permission.
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