Each of us has a limited and unique perspective. When we witness events or when we create art, each of us interprets and re-presents our understanding of reality based upon a whole network of experiences that are unique to us. This does not mean, however, that our awareness and understanding is purely subjective. Rather it means that how we see and understand the world is a balance between our experience of objective phenomenon and our subjective integration of that experience.

Our descriptions and stories often tell us just as much about ourselves as they do about the events themselves. Language is loaded with subtlety and nuance, and this expresses who we are even in the most mundane of circumstances. In addition, the details we choose to pay attention to provide important clues as to what we are thinking and how we see the world.

The Holy Spirit is not some dramatic force that interrupts our normal consciousness in order to impart messages that are completely foreign to how and what we think. Although extraordinary graces have and will continue to happen, even the most miraculous vision is given to the believer in the mode in which they are capable of accepting it. Thus, even though visions, locutions, and other private revelations are a gift from God, they still are received and given according to the natural inclinations of the individual believer.

As Catholics, we are Incarnational. The Holy Spirt will speak to us in ways that we can understand, and the mysteries of the faith will stir our imaginations in ways that help us to integrate those mysteries into our lives. In this way, Catholic art is itself a form of meditation. Artists allow the Holy Spirit to breathe within them and to help produce a work that captures how the Gospel becomes flesh within their imagination. In prayer, we can become artists and allow the Holy Spirit to create masterpieces in us.

This article is from Chapter 4 of a current book I am working on. The second half of the chapter has been previously posted (http://www.contemplatio.us/a-guide-to-imaginative-prayer/)