I think a priest friend and I once shocked a staff colleague about our experiences in composition of place. You know, right? Placing oneself, with full senses, into the scene with Jesus or a saint.
Reflecting on the call of Zacchaeus, my friend related he was once the tree the short man climbed to get a better view of Jesus. I mentioned one of my most fruitful experiences was being a bird with Jesus viewing the temptation in the desert, and later, perched on the cross. There was even a Roman soldier batting at me with a long stick.
Our third friend was a bit surprised her colleagues had once interacted with the Lord as a tree and a bird.
Using my imagination has been an occasional part of my prayer life since I did the Exercises in everyday life two years ago. There is a hanging plant in a room at the student center where I like to pray. Once I imagined sitting with Jesus in the vacuole of a cell on the leaf. There we were: our feet hanging over the edge and watching the chloroplasts float by.
It wasn’t as cartoonish as the drawing, right.
I find I’m less successful imagining a Biblical scene. I do it from time to time, but for some reason the setting is less important than the actual encounter with the person. St Ignatius reminds us our God-given imagination is part of how God made us. As such, a portion of God’s attempts to communicate with us is through this imagination. So I figure: why put any bounds on it?
Have any readers had fruitfulness with placing themselves in the scene as part of prayer? A very good introduction to it is also here.