Contemplative prayer

What is contemplative prayer? "Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus" (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

Contemplation is the prayer of the heart and not of the mind. It is the prayer of the listening heart.

Picture a scene in the life of Jesus

Contemplative prayer uses your imagination. For example, read Luke 23:26 where Jesus carries his cross to Calvary. Transport yourself back in time. Put yourself into the scene, not as a passive observer, but as one who interacts with the characters.

Use your senses... sight, sound, smell to make the scene more real.

Imagine yourself standing in a narrow street in Jerusalem. Feel the heat of the hot afternoon sun. Hear the shouts of the crowd as Jesus approaches.

jesus carries his cross

See Jesus stagger under the weight of His Cross. His face is bathed in sweat and blood. On his head is a crown of thorns.

People beside you cry out, "Crucify him." Suddenly Jesus falls. The soldiers pull him roughly to his feet.

You move back as the man beside you shouts, "He has saved others, let him save himself."


You want to rush into the narrow street and help Jesus. But you hesitate. You are afraid of the soldiers and the angry crowd.


  Reflect on what you have pictured

In this scene and in my life I hold back from loving you, Jesus. I am afraid to make changes in my life... and maybe lose friends.

Help me Jesus to love you whatever the cost.

Show me the changes I need to make. But I will need your help to make these changes.

(Here tell Jesus what else troubles you. And don't forget to ask Jesus to help others.)

Be silent and listen. Jesus will make his presence felt. His grace will help you grow closer to Him.

You might end by saying

I love you Jesus and thank you for dying on the Cross for me. Be with me always and never leave me.

Catholic Meditation: 7 Powerful Ways to Pray is available here

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