Spiritual Practice: Gospel Contemplation
This series of spiritual practices is in celebration of my book release: The Retreat: A Tale of Spiritual Awakening now available wherever eBooks are sold!
We previously tried the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina and today we will begin Gospel Contemplation. The two are similar but not the same.
Gospel Contemplation comes to us from St. Ignatius of Loyola. It was described back before scriptures were readily available to the laity and there was a lot of illiteracy. It was a way to engage in prayer and scripture imaginatively.
It’s not hard:
- Chose a short passage where Jess interacts with someone. If you are using a different holy book, active passages are the easiest to start with.
- Read the passage twice.
- Then close your eyes and enter the passage in your mind. Let all of your senses become engaged: What do you see, hear, smell, taste? Look around you, who is there, where are you? In the Crowd? Which character in the story might you be? One of the disciples? An onlooker?
- At some point, you can choose to interact with Jesus. Ask him, “What do you want to say to me?” and listen for the answer. Or bring another question.
- If you are highly imaginative, you may want to find a grounding memory outside of the story, a time you felt fully loved, to pull you back out of the story if you get too involved.
Now, let’s try it:
Read this story twice, then let yourself engage. Jesus might ask you the question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Mark 10:46-52 New International Version
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Who were you in the story? What did Jesus say when you interacted?
I hope this was a meaningful experience for you. It can take the fear out of Bible Reading and make if fun, interesting and life changing. Let me know if you try it!