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Advent comes alive with Ignatian imaginative prayer

One way to enter more fully into Advent is to use an Ignatian method of prayer that involves using one’s imagination in reading an Advent Scripture passage, entering into the scene and envisioning what one might see, hear, smell or touch.

Jessi Kary, an Apostolic Oblate and national director of the Pro Sanctity Movement, offers an Advent reflection based on this type of prayer.

Matthew 11:2-5 – excerpt from the Gospel for Dec. 15 (Third Sunday in Advent)

Invite the Holy Spirit to pray in you. Take a moment to notice the presence of the Spirit within you, the Father gazing upon you with love, Jesus with you.

Slowly read the passage:

When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him with this question, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.’

Walk with John’s disciples to Jesus. What do you talk about on the way? How do you feel on the journey?

As you approach Jesus, he turns toward you. He looks at you. Notice what is it like to receive his gaze. He smiles at you.

You notice that Jesus is surrounded by the blind, the deaf, the poor, those who are lame. Jesus knows your frailty. When he responds to the question of John’s disciples, you feel he is speaking to you, of you. With his gaze, he welcomes you into his heart. He wants you to share with him your need, your blindness and deafness, the way you are broken and poor, your fears, worries and burdens …

You do not just see others being healed. He lays his hands upon you to heal you, to speak with you …

Share with Jesus what you see and hear, what you think, feel and desire. Pay attention to how he wants to remain with you. Ask him for a particular gift to help you prepare to receive him in a new and deeper way this Christmas.