A Self-Directed Retreat: To Know, To Love, To Follow
In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius proposes meditating and contemplating Gospel scenes. In Ignatian Contemplation, we use the active imagination upon a particular event in Jesus' life. The Gospel story serves as a guided imagery context for the imagination.
Gospel Contemplation involves images, feelings, and thoughts. St. Ignatius suggests that we use three points: See, Listen, and Consider.
See the different persons (SE 106).
Listen to what the persons are saying (SE 107).
Consider what the persons are doing (SE 108). In considering what the persons are doing, the person at prayer is invited to enter their actions and Feel. Gospel Contemplation is a kinesthetic exercise.
While using this prayer method it is important to keep oneself attentive with the Gospel Framework as the mind wanders within.
1. Read to Understand and construct the scene in your mind. (See)
2. Read a second time to Imagine the scene. Hear what they say as they interact. (Listen)
3. Read a third time to pay attention to what the persons are doing in the scene. (Consider)
A. Beginning your prayer time: At the beginning each prayer period, offering yourself to the Lord. Prayer of “Take and Receive”
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
Thou hast given all to me.
To Thee, O Lord, I return it.
All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.
Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.
Or consider writing your own offering of yourself, your thoughts , desires and actions ( your head, heart and hands).
B. Read slowly the mystery and pray attentively using all of your faculties - faith and feelings - your interior senses, imagination, recall – as you pray with each section.
Grace: To ask for what I desire – a deep felt knowledge of God self-revealed in the person of Jesus, fully human and divine; so that I might know Him more clearly, to love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly.
Here are several mysteries from the Exercises for a self-directed retreat
JN 2:1-11 The Wedding Feast at Cana.
LK 7:1-10 The cure of the centurion’s servant
Mk 5:25-34 Healing of the woman with a hemorrhage
MT 15:21-28 Jesus encounters the Canaanite woman
MT 15:29-31 Jesus heals suffering people
MT 19:13-15 Jesus blesses children
LK 10:38-42 Jesus visits Martha and Mary
LK 7:36-50 The sinful woman washes the feet of Jesus.
JN 4:4-42 Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well