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Mark 2:1-12: A Guided Ignatian Contemplation



Praying with your imagination is a great way to let God speak to you. As you pray, pay attention to your feelings and emotions, such as fear, happiness, joy, hope, peace, faith, love. Read through it, and use the steps as you try this prayer the first time. If you feel like changing something, or doing it your own way that feels better, go for it. Don’t worry about “doing it right.” Follow whatever leads you closer to God, and to his healing, mercy, love, faith, and hope.


Today, we invite you to pray with the Gospel of Mark through an Ignatian contemplation. In chapter 2 of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is preaching to crowds at the door of his home in Capernaum. The crowds are so large that when four men arrive carrying a paralyzed man on a mat, they cannot bring the man to Jesus. Instead, they lower the man on the mat through a gap in the roof. Amazed at their faith, Jesus heals the man and sends him home.


This story is a great passage with which to perform an Ignatian contemplation: the scene is rich in details.


1. Settle into whatever position you intend to pray, whether that is sitting in a comfortable chair, kneeling, lying down, or walking. Then, take a moment to relax, paying careful attention to your breathing and posture.


2. Begin your prayer by asking God for the grace that you seek: search your heart and speak to God about what you want most.


3. Then, read through Mark 2:1-12 once, paying close attention to the details. Once you have read through the passage, immerse yourself fully into the story, as if you were really there:


  • This healing takes place near the home of Jesus in Capernaum. What do you see around you? How many people are there? What are they doing? What do they look like?

  • The town of Capernaum served as a kind of base for Jesus. What does it feel like to stand there by the home of Jesus? Is it day or night? Is the air still or breezy?

  • Ignatian contemplations are meant to engage all your sense, including smell and even taste. As you stand in the crowd, what do you smell?

  • Lastly, we are meant to hear the word of God in an Ignatian contemplation. As the scene unfolds before you, what do you hear? What are people talking about?


4. Read the passage one more time. Put yourself completely in the scene. Who are you? Are you part of the crowd? Or are you on the mat being carried? If you are the one on the mat, who is carrying you? Or are you one of those carrying the mat? If so, who are you carrying? What is your relationship to this person? Don’t worry about trying to do the “right thing”, just let yourself imagine.


5. Now, see Jesus. What is he saying? Is he talking to other people? What do you feel when you see Jesus? Are you excited? Nervous? Do you want Him to talk to you? What is He like with other people? Pay attention to your feelings in your heart.


6. The mat is lowered through the roof, landing in front of Jesus. What is his reaction to what he sees? What does he say and do? Pay attention to your feelings in your heart.


7. The one on the mat rises up and picks up the mat. If this is you, how do you feel? What is it like to stand on your feet? If you are one who carried the mat, what is your reaction? How do you feel to see the one you carried standing upright? Pay attention to your feelings in your heart.


8. Then, Jesus turns to you and starts speaking with you. Imagine His compassion. What does Jesus say to you? What do you want to say to him? Again, what do you feel in your heart?


9. Finally, take some time to talk to Jesus. Tell Him what you want, what you are grateful for, how you are feeling. And let Him speak to you in your imagination.


10. End with a short prayer, and thank God for His gifts.


Questions to Consider when you finish your prayer:


  1. What moment stood out to me most as I contemplated the scene?

  2. What did I feel during my prayer?

  3. What did God say to you? What did you say to God?

  4. What do I take away from this experience of prayer?

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