SadhanaOriental Meditation and Christian Prayer

Prayer with fantasy

[14] Contemplating on a scene in the Bible led by St. Ignatius: 1A (Incarnation 1)

 St. Ignatius invites us to devoutly meditate on Luke 1:1-38 in the following format and method of prayer.  (See #101-109 of The Spiritual Exercises (note 1).)  The format and method can be outlined as follows:
 1 – Preparatory prayer
 2 – Three preparatory considerations (including establishing imaginary situations)
 3 – Main part of contemplation
 4 – Concluding colloquy
 With this scheme in mind, let’s pray according to the following original text by the Saint as much as possible.

(Here we use the English translation by Fr.David Fleming.)
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【The Preparatory Prayer】
 The Preparatory Prayer is to ask grace of God our Lord that all my intentions, actions and operations may be directed purely to the service and praise of His Divine Majesty.

【First Prelude】
 The first Prelude is to bring up the narrative of the thing which I have to contemplate.
 Here, it is how the Three Divine Persons looked at all the plain or circuit of all the world, full of men, and how, seeing that all were going down to Hell, it is determined in Their Eternity, that the Second Person shall become man to save the human race, and so, the fullness of times being come, They sent the Angel  St. Gabriel to Our Lady.

【Second Prelude】
 The second, a composition, seeing the place: here it will be to see the great capacity and circuit of the world, in which are so many and such different people: then likewise, in particular, the house and rooms of our Lady in the city of Nazareth, in the Province of Galilee.

【Third Prelude】
 The third, to ask for what I want: It will be to ask for interior knowledge of the Lord, Who for me has become man, that I may more love and follow Him.

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 After completing the above preparatory prayer and three preparatory considerations, we start the main part of meditation (contemplation).
【First Point】
 The first point is, to see the various persons: and first those on the surface of the earth, in such variety, in dress as in actions: some white and others black; some in peace and others in war; some weeping and others laughing; some well, others ill; some being born and others dying, etc.
 2.To see and consider the Three Divine Persons, as on their royal throne or seat of Their Divine Majesty, how They look on all the surface and circuit of the earth, and all the people in such blindness, and how they are dying and going down to Hell.
 3. To see Our Lady, and the Angel who is saluting her, and to reflect in order to get profit from such a sight.

【Second point】
 The second, to hear what the persons on the face of the earth are saying, that is, how they are talking with one another, how they swear and blaspheme, etc.; and likewise what the Divine Persons are saying, that is; “Let Us work the redemption of the Human race,” etc.; and then what the Angel and Our lady are saying; and to reflect then so as to draw profit from their words.

【Third Point】
 The third, to look then at what the persons on the face of the earth are doing, as for instance, killing, going to Hell, etc.; likewise what the Divine Persons are doing, namely, working out the most holy Incarnation, etc.; and likewise what the Angel and Our Lady are doing, namely, the Angel doing his duty as ambassador, and Our lady humbling herself and giving thanks to the Divine Majesty; and then to reflect in order to draw some profit from each of these things.

At the end a Colloquy is to be made, thinking what I ought to say to the Three Divine Persons, or to the Eternal Word incarnate, or to our Mother and Lady, asking according to what I feel in me, in order more to follow and imitate Our Lady, so lately incarnate.
I will say an Our Father.

* St. Ignatius recommends us to repeat this contemplation.  Through repeated contemplations, we can deepen dialogue with God (and the Virgin Mary).
 The dialogue is done in the following manner.
 Pay attention to the feeling of consolation, hardening of heart, or spiritual sensation that you feel, and stay with the feeling.  And have dialogue in the following three ways: <<First dialogue>> Dialogue with the Virgin Mary.  Based on our feeling, pray for her intervention so that her Son the Lord, who has been born, helps us better follow him.  Hail Mary.  <<Second dialogue>> Pray the same to the Father through the Son.  Anima Christi.  <<Third dialogue>> Pray the same to the Father so that the eternal Lord himself gives us the blessing.  Our Father. (Note 2)
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(Note 1) St. Ignatius developed an about 30-day comprehensive meditation program for fervent believers of God who seriously work to improve their way of life.  He organized the gist of the program into the book called The Spiritual Exercises.  Each item in the book is numbered sequentially through 370.  The excerpts here are #101 – 109, which are contained in a part about one third away from the beginning of the book.

 (Note 2) The three-stage dialogue scheme to pray first to the Virgin Mary, and then to the Christ, and then to the Father, is described in detail in #61-63 of the Spiritual Exercises.  It seems best that the dialogue in #101-109 be based on the scheme in #61-63.  The specific form described in #63 has been applied here.


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