Reflection: Using our Imagination in Solidarity

21 February 2021|Thomas Doran

Imagine piling into a boat, leaving behind a land of depravity and destruction. You don’t know where you’re going to. You just need to go. There’s no other option. Fear of an uncertain future encroaches upon you, but you are not overwhelmed. You have hope. A higher power is with you, and you trust that He will lead you to where you need to be.

This is the story of Noah who, having beached his ark upon a new land of peace and prosperity, is featured in today’s first reading. It is also the story of countless refugees, such as these African refugees, who place their trust in someone Greater as they sail away from evil and oppression in search of a better life.

Refugees’ reliance on God is deep and profound, and this Lent we can grow in reliance upon God by looking to our teacher, Jesus. In today’s Gospel, Jesus sets apart 40 days to pray with God in the desert. “Set apart” is the meaning of “holy” in the Bible, such as the Temple which is set apart from the rest of Jerusalem, hence Jesus’ anger when it was used for common business. When we set apart time for God, we say that now is not a normal time. Now is a holy time, one set apart solely for God.

A helpful way to pray in the Ignatian spiritual tradition is to use your imagination. If you were on a boat right now, what would it look like? What is the water like? And the sky? What do you see, hear, and feel? Is anyone else there? If so, who? What emotions are going through you? What thoughts are on your mind? Is God there? If so, what is He like? If no, can you invite Him there? Who is God to you?

Perhaps you can express this creative space in a poem, a reflection, or a piece of art. Prayer is not just reciting words. It can also mean meeting God in the creativity of our minds. There, we meet a personal God as we sail across life’s vast ocean.

Thomas Doran is a Jesuit novice from Omaha, Nebraska. He is working with JRS/USA as a part of Jesuit formation called “Long Experiment.” Thomas will share weekly reflections during Lent. Click here to see the first reflection