Thanks to all of you who attended our meeting this past Saturday. Many have asked for the presentation, so you can review it again, or watch it if you couldn't attend the meeting. I've attached it here for your review.
Below is the contemplation on "Composition of Place," used at the beginning of our SEEL meeting, Saturday January 13, 2018.
Imaginative Prayer - A place for prayer
In this exercises, we will return through imagination to a place that touched our soul. When we pray, St. Ignatius recommends that we reconstruct the place that we are about to contemplate. This is often translated as composition of place but in reality, Ignatius meant composition of self - seeing the place. In other words, he recommends that you don't compose the place, but rather compose yourself into the place when you imagine the place.
One of the finest helps to prayer is a place that encourages prayer, and nature is often a key to that place. Perhaps a beautiful sunrise or sunset, or the twinkling of stars help you pray. Some prefer the sea shore and waves crashing, some prefer mountains, or rivers, or forest. Jesus, too, seemed to pray better in natural settings. He often went off to a private place to pray.
Sit quietly with your feet on the floor, hands on lap. Take several deep breaths. Close your eyes. Relax your body, one part at a time. (Pause 1 minute)
Imagine someplace that will help foster prayer for you: a seashore, riverbank, sunset, sunrise, forest, mountain, church, starry sky view, moonlit night. Withdraw in fantasy to this place. See the place as vividly as possible. Imagine:
- Are you standing or sitting? Walking, running, still?
- What is beneath you? Are you on sand, earth, ferns, grass, wood?
- What do you see around you? Are there trees, flowers, grass, waves, undergrowth, animals, stained glass? Is it dark or light? What colors do you see?
- What do you taste? Salt, grit, dust, fresh air?
- What do you hear? Are there crashing waves, birds chirping, trees in wind, insects, frogs, bells, echoes, wind in the trees?
- Imagine touching something nearby. What do you feel?
Now raise your heart to God and say something to him. (Pause at least 3 minutes in silence)
When you are ready, return to this room.
If you have succeeded in the exercise, you will know what Ignatius means about composition of place. And you will have a peace center in your heart to which you can always retire when you need quiet and solitude, even though you are externally in the marketplace or a crowded room.
Questions for Small Group Sharing:
- What was it like for you to compose yourself in a different place? Did it help your prayer?
- Has this exercise changed your perception of the present reality, this place here and now?
- Discuss anything about this exercise that seemed noteworthy.