As we continue our Advent imagination prayer with Luke’s birth narrative, we spend more time today with the shepherds, angel and the multitude of the heavenly host.
Imagination prayer has a long history. St. Ignatius of Loyola built his Spiritual Exercises — a set of meditations, reflections and practices to draw a person’s heart deeper toward Christ — on imagination prayers. He invites us to become part of the scene as our minds imagine what it might have been like in Jesus’ time.
Luke 2: 12-14
This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favors!”
- Take a few moments to become quiet inside. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become aware of God’s presence in your imagination.
- Enter the scene. Become any character you desire — a shepherd, an angel, a passerby — someone in the story or a character you create. Or you can choose to just be yourself in the scene.
- Notice where you are — in the fields tending the sheep or near enough to watch the scene unfold.
- There is an angel announcing the coming of the Christ. Visualize this angel.
- Suddenly with this angel is a whole group of heavenly entities. They are all praising God. You listen as they say or sing their words of praise.
- Imagine this multitude milling about the fields with you and the shepherds.
- What do you feel inspired to say or do? Start a conversation with one of them? Stand by and gaze at the scene without using words? How do you respond to this glorious multitude?
- When you are ready, thank all the shepherds, angels and heavenly host for their part in this story. End by spending a few moments in gratitude to God for this experience of prayer.