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Food For Thought - Mar 23 2009

Have you ever read a biography or a great novel and felt so swept up in the story that the book's characters became real to you? As you read their story, you felt you actually were spending time with them?

Gospel meditation, or "being there," has traditionally been called the Ignatian Method, after Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491?1556). He instructed his followers to spend time with Jesus by imagining themselves in the Gospel story.

David Benner, author of The Gift of Being Yourself, writes, "Gospel meditation provides an opportunity to enter specific moments in Jesus' life and thereby share his experience. Shared experience is the core of any friendship. And Spirit-guided meditation on the life of Jesus provides this possibility."

Once I was reading Mark 1:35?38, where Jesus tries to get some time alone. His disciples come and find him, saying, "Everyone is looking for you!" I imagined the scene, thought about how Jesus felt, and realized this: Jesus had his solitude time interrupted! Like me, he'd experienced interruptions, so he knew what I was going through when I had trouble finding time to be alone.

Try this: Choose a passage from one of the Gospels. Read it slowly. Daydream about it, imagining you're there. Perhaps you're a bystander watching Jesus, or the person talking to Jesus. Try playing various roles in the scene. Use your imagination to add details. Put yourself into the story via your five senses: What do you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell? By being there, you're spending time with Jesus.

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