Recently one of my directees, a catechist ministering in their parish RCIA's program, asked this question: How do I lead others to not just know about but to encounter Christ?
I shared how they were already leading others to encounter Christ by:
implicitly through being Christ for others
explicitly by sharing the Magisterial teachings of the Church
The teachings of the Church cover three areas here below that build upon each other to help one grow in holiness so as to align with Christ to express His love in the world
Intellectual - Scripture and Tradition
Spiritually - Sacraments
Morally - Beatitudes and Virtues
Moving from Knowing About to An Encounter
Rooted in their question was a desire that was a desire of St. Ignatius both personally and for others he counseled, it was:
To know Christ more clearly
To love Christ more dearly
To follow Christ more nearly
To encounter is to know more, to love more, and to follow more. Over the course of our time together, I realized there was more they could do during their weekly sessions.
I began a review by listing the powers of the soul: intellect, memory, and will, and the dimensionality of the person for expressing holiness - our head (mind - thoughts as images and words), hearts (feelings, intentions), and hands (actions, deeds).
Introducing Ignatian Meditation (Imaginative Prayer)
One specific way to help lead others to encounter Christ is by sharing the method of Ignatian meditation using one's imaginative God-given faculty, which allows one to enter into more of their interior world of the senses. It is one of the meditation methods of 'mental' or 'interior' prayer, slightly different from discursive meditation using thought and reason alone.
God has designed us to encounter Him in our souls and experience Him throughout our minds and body via our imaginative faculty. Though it was not new in the Tradition of the Church, we find St. Ignatius recommended this throughout 3 of the 4 phases of the Spiritual Exercises for the meditation on the mysteries.
This Ignatian way one comes to encounter Christ by utilizing all of our God-given faculties; thus the Holy Spirit makes present to us the reality of the experience. Here in offering this way of prayer we can step aside allowing for an opening where "the Creator deals directly with the creature, and the creature directly with his Creator and Lord" (annotation #15 of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius).
To allow more time (15 minutes more to the session) to learn about and experience this gift of an Ignatian prayer method and process.
Take time to pray the meditation – a scriptural section, then move to quiet reflection on the meditation, and then to share one's insights and experiences to deepen one's encounter. Millions who prayed this way, due to the teaching wisdom of the Church, have had an encounter with Christ in their daily prayer time in addition to encountering Christ directly in the Eucharist.
Method of Prayer*
To stimulate the reflection
What word(s) or phrase stand out?
What do you sense Christ is sharing with you?
To stimulate sharing
What came up for you?
How was that for you?
Tell me more
Examples to Use for Meditation
You may use these passages and reflections questions to help one in encountering Christ here: