Dan Burke is an award-winning author, writer, and speaker on Catholic spirituality. He has written and/or edited nine books on faithful Catholic spirituality and is the Executive Director and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register. Dan is the president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and the creator of Divine Intimacy Radio and SpiritualDirection.com.
"...to run with an overly active imagination to Jerusalem, to frame to the imagination those things which are to be meditated there, does oftentimes hurt the head."
Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara, brings the wisdom of the great saint into your hands. St. Peter directed St. Teresa of Avila on difficult questions she had about prayer and she turned to this work for guidance.
I’ll be sharing excerpts from the book here, in the hope that you’ll be inspired to spend time prayerfully reflecting on them and growing closer to God as a result. This excerpt is from the second section of the book, "The Way of Meditation."
After reading follows meditation, which is sometimes of such things as can be represented to our imagination: as the life and Passion of our Blessed Savior; the final judgment; hell; and the kingdom of heaven.
Sometimes of such things as are subject rather to the understanding than imagination: as the consideration of Almighty God’s benefits, his bounty, clemency and other perfections which are in God. These meditations are called, the one intellectual, the other imaginary. Both of which, in these exercises, are to be used after a different manner, as occasion requires.
When the meditation is imaginary, so that the thing meditated upon has never had any actual existence or being (in an exact sense), we must so frame and represent it to our imagination, as though we were present in the same place and saw with our eyes those things which were there done. This representation will make the consideration of these things more vivacious and cause a greater impression in our souls; for if our imagination can comprehend whole cities and countries, with less difficulty can it comprehend one mystery. This helps much to the recollection of the mind; this will retain the same busied in itself as a bee in a hive, where she works and disposes all things diligently.
But in these things a moderation must be used; for to run with an overly active imagination to Jerusalem, to frame to the imagination those things which are to be meditated there, does oftentimes hurt the head. Where- fore, it is good to abstain from immoderate imaginations, lest nature, oppressed with too violent apprehensions, becomes infirm and weak.
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