A visualisation prayer / meditation

Anthony de Mello

An Excerpt from Contact with God: Retreat Conferences by Anthony de Mello

As a kind of footnote to what I have said about meditating on the life of Christ through fantasy I should like to speak of the use of this method as a means of meditation on our own life with the purpose of experiencing healing and growth. Let me explain.

When I meditate on any scene in Christ's life, I make myself present to it. I imagine I am there, taking part in all the events, speaking, listening, acting. When I return to some scene in my past life, I relive it just as it happened with one difference: this time I get Christ to take an active part in it. Let me give you an example.

Suppose I return to a scene that causes me much distress. An event that brought me humiliation, like a public rebuke, or one that brought me great pain, like the death of a friend. I relive the whole event, in all its painful detail. I feel once more the pain, the loss, the humiliation, the bitterness. This time, however, Jesus is there. What role is he playing? Is he a comforter and strengthener? Is he the one who is causing me this pain and loss? I interact with him, just as I did with the other persons in that event. I seek strength from him, an explanation of what I don't understand; I seek a meaning to the whole event.

What is the purpose of this exercise? It is what some people call the healing of memories. There are memories that keep rankling within us — situations in our past life that have remained unresolved and continue to stir within us. This constitutes a perpetual wound that in some ways hampers us from plunging more fully into life, that sometimes seriously handicaps us in our ability to cope with life

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It is important for our personal growth, both spiritual and emotional, that we resolve these unresolved situations that keep rankling within us. When we relive them in the company of Christ, again and again, if need be, we will notice that a new meaning comes into them, that the sting goes out of them, that we can now return to them without any emotional upset; in fact, that we can even return to them now with a sense of gratitude to God, who planned these events for some purpose that will rebound to our benefit and to his glory. This form of prayer is good therapy and good spirituality.