De Mello: Ignatian Exercises and More
“This is the spirit in which we embark upon Ignatian contemplations. Through the simple childlike use of our fantasy we attain a truth far beyond fantasy, the truth of mystery, the truth of the mystics.”
Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God, p. 85.
De Mello offers many awareness exercises to know and feel the presence of Christ especially in prayer. In one exercise, we imagine that Jesus is sitting in an empty chair beside us. He reminds us that we can start our prayer in our head, but our prayers will become stale and dry if we do not move to our senses and the heart, out of a place of thinking and talking and moving into a place of feeling, sensing loving, and being intuitive.
De Mello uses Ignatian contemplation to help us become a part of a scene from the life of Christ to enhance our reading of scripture and our prayer life. He reminds us of others who experience God using Ignatian contemplation. Francis of Assisi took Jesus down from the Cross and knew he was no longer dead. Teresa of Avila felt closest when she was present with Christ as he agonized in the garden. Ignatius of Loyola became a servant accompanying Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.