The Smell of Faith

In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a Jesuit on retreat will pray using what is called The Application of the a Senses. In this, when he contemplated the Gospel, he will consider the sights and sounds; tastes and textures of the experience.

For example, a contemplation on the Good Shepherd passage will have the man listen to the sheep, the sound of the wind blowing, the chirping of the birds. The man will also see the green grass; the sheep frolicking; and the hardened hands of a shepherd who is used to hard work. As well, he will smell the fresh air; the grass in the field; and the odour of the sheepfold.

The very Jesuit form of prayer allows us an intimate experience of the Gospels; our Holy Father's insight on this passage no doubt comes from praying the image and being the the Good Shepherd out in the field as he pastors his flock. There is intimacy between shepherd and sheep, and contemplation on the scene is very powerful.

[This post written by a Jesuit]

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