Ignatian Meditation Ignatian meditation is a mediation method based on that of St Ignatius of Loyola used in his spiritual exercises. St Ignatius lived in Spain in the 16th century and founded the Jesuit order. He believed that our imagination and senses can help us to enter into the events of Jesus’ life. This particular method of meditation enables us to share in a special personal encounter with Jesus. The stories of sacred scripture have a special power to connect right into our own lived experience. By leading students to enter into them imaginatively and prayerfully we can assist them to become aware of possible connections. Through this way of praying students can use their imagination and senses to meet Jesus in a scriptural story, to talk to him and to listen to him. Personal encounter through this prayer can help students to establish a relationship with Jesus. It is suggested that students be introduced gradually to meditation. (Norma Woodcock’s CDs and Publications Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Steps for using Imaginative Meditation with students Step 1: Explanation so that students have an understanding of what will happen. Play reflective music and allow time for calming and stilling. Step 2: Position participants being clear in directions and guidelines for where and how students are to sit or lie. Step 3: Read the Gospel passage to the students and invite them to listen carefully. Step 4: Lead students in Awareness exercises e.g. take note of your breathing… listen to your breathing… breathe through your nose, in …out…in …out. Step 5: Enter into the meditation. Step 6: Lead the meditation …explore the landscape…recreate the scene in your mind…explore the sights and sounds and smells and the atmosphere. Note who is there in the scene. Key questions are: Where is Jesus? Where are you in the scene? What do you feel? What do you want to say to Jesus? What does Jesus say to you? ALLOW time for students to explore their own imaginative responses. Step 7: Closing the Meditation….leaving the scene…becoming aware of your body… listen to the sounds around you… listen to your breathing…. Slowly open your eyes. Step 8: Students could journal or illustrate. A follow up discussion may be helpful. An example of a meditation using the story of Feeding the Five Thousand Luke 9: 10-17 Steps 1 and 2: Teacher to lead students to find a space to be. Symbols placed in the prayer focus e.g. bible, candle, empty basket, bread. Reflective music could be played while students are gathering and becoming still and silent. Candle is lit. Today we are going to use our imagination and our sense to explore one of the stories from scripture. You will be invited to meditate on this story. Step 3: I am now going to read a story from the Scriptures about Jesus feeding lots of people. I would like you to listen carefully. Step 4: Thanks for listening. I would now like you to listen to the sounds inside the room. Identify them and name them in your head. Listen to the sounds outside. Identify them and name them in your head. Listen to your breathing and slow your breathing down. Still your whole body and close your eyes gently. Step 5: As I re-read the story slowly I’d like to invite you to imagine that you are actually present while this story is happening and that you are one of the disciples It is helpful to close your eyes while we pray this story. Step 6: On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to another city. See yourself sitting with Jesus and telling him what you have been doing today….. What does Jesus say to you?... Try to think of one thing he might say to you…. Hear him speak to you. Silence and Space for quiet…… When the crowds found out about it they followed him and he welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. Watch Jesus as he speaks to the people… hear him tell them that God loves them… see Jesus cure those who are ill…. How do you feel as you watch Jesus? Silence and Space for quiet…... The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside to lodge and get provisions for we are here in a deserted place. You are very concerned because there are lots of people and you don’t have enough food. Think of a time when you might have thought you couldn’t do anything to help others or one other person….. How did you feel? Tell Jesus how you felt. Silence and Space for quiet…... But he said to them “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we go and buy food for all these people.” There were about five thousand people. Jesus is inviting you to look at ways that you can help others and not just think it is too hard…. Is there someone that you think you could help today?… Ask Jesus to help you find a way to help. Silence and Space for quiet…... And he said to the disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” They did this and taking the loaves and the fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. The disciples were invited to help. Can you recall a time when you helped someone even though it was hard and it all worked out okay…… Can you remember how you felt after you had helped another person….. See Jesus sitting on the grass with you…... Tell him about this time and how you felt…… Say thank you to Jesus who helped you to help another. Silence and Space for quiet…... Step 7: Conclusion: Let the scene go in your imagination…. and allow yourself to become aware of the room… and the other people near you… move your body gently… and open your eyes as you feel read….. Stand and gently stretch. Step 8: Write or draw about this story. What was most interesting for you? What did you discover about Jesus? What did you discover about yourself.