Below is a copy of the content of the Agape Meditation Practices Newsletter which is a supplement to the weekly virtual church online services. This newsletter is available to email subscribers through Constant Contact (see subscribe icon in the right sidebar menu). If you find these practices meaningful, helpful and perhaps inspiring, please consider subscribing.
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
Sunday, March 9, 2014
First Sunday of Lent
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”
Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him. (Matthew 4: 1-11)
Gn 2: 7-9, 3: 1-7
Ps 51: 3-17
Rom 5: 12, 17-19
Imagination as Revelation
For centuries, spiritual teachers across cultures have demonstrated the power of imagination as a source of guidance, insight, knowledge, comfort and healing. St. Ignatius of Loyola discovered this in his own journey while convalescing after a serious war injury. Through his imagination, he was turned from a desire for fame, wealth and power to one of service to God. Ignatius learned that God could speak to him directly through his daydreaming and came to know God and in coming to know God, came to know himself through his daydreaming. This week, you will have an opportunity to practice this powerful form of meditation, known for centuries by spiritual teachers and formalized within the Christian tradition by Ignatius of Loyola in the practice he came to call Imagination/Contemplation.
With this week’s scripture, you are invited to use the spiritual practice of Imagination/contemplation. Follow the steps below:
1) Slowly and meditatively read the gospel account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.
2) Put yourself in Jesus’ place. Imagine that you are Jesus in the story.
3) Placing yourself in the place of Jesus, imagine in detail the setting. What are you wearing? What is the environment like in the desert? What is the weather? How are you feeling. When the devil shows up, what does he/she look like? Is there anyone else there?
4) Without censoring, allow the story to unfold in your imagination. Allow yourself to daydream the story in your mind, letting it flow without censoring, questioning, critique, simply allow the story to unfold in your mind. Be attentive to all the details. Be especially mindful of any thoughts, feelings or emotions that might surface.
5) After the story has come to a natural conclusion in your mind, write it down in a notebook or journal, being attentive to any additional details which might reveal themselves.
6) After you have written the story, go back and read what you wrote.
7) Reflect on the following questions: a) How is the story that was revealed to you reflective of something going on in your own life? b) What might God be trying to reveal to you through the story that came forth through your imagination?
In this week’s reading, we have an opportunity to confront the role of temptation in our lives. Authentic Freedom speaks directly to temptation in awareness of the seven core fears:
- There is not enough
- I am insignificant and have nothing to contribute
- I can’t (be the person God made me to be)
- I am not loved
- I am not free to express my truth
- I do not know my truth and my path
- I am alone
Reflect this week on how you are tempted to entertain or give in to these fears.