A Sample Guided Reflection

bxp165744sIn tonight’s Webinar presentation, I offered tips for leading guided reflections. I promised to post a sample on my blog for your convenience. This is taken from the Finding God program which includes scripts for guided reflections in each unit. Another good resource for guided reflections is Guided Reflections for Children, Volumes 1 and 2 (Loyola Press).

Called to Holiness – (Time: approximately 10 minutes)


We all have imagination. Imagination allows us to go places and to do things that might otherwise be impossible. Today we are going to use imagination to help us pray. (Pause.)


Now before we begin, find a position that feels most comfortable to you. (Pause.) If you like, close your eyes. (Pause.) Now relax your entire body—your neck . . . your shoulders . . . your arms . . . your legs. (Pause.) Feel all the tension flowing out of your body, into the air and away.

(Pause.) Now be very still and listen to the rhythm of your breathing. Listen. (Pause.) Feel your breath go in and out, in and out, in and out. (Pause.) Now let’s begin. (Pause.)


In your imagination see yourself in a place where you’d like to be. Maybe it’s a place where you’ve met Jesus before, maybe it’s a different one. You choose, because anything is possible in imagination. Why not make it your favorite time of year? (Pause.) Make the weather suit you today. (Pause.) Be there in your imagination. Wait for Jesus to join you. (Pause.)


He does almost right away. As he comes in sight, you go to meet him. He’s obviously glad to see you. Hear him tell you how glad he is to be with you again. (Pause.) As usual, he asks you what you were just doing. Sometimes your answer to that question would be, “Not much.” But today it’s different. He asks if you’ve been thinking about a verse from the Bible: “For I, the LORD, am your God; and you shall make and keep yourselves holy because I am holy.”*


Now that’s not your usual line of thought. But there’s something in this verse that puzzles you. You don’t have trouble with the idea of God being holy. But the idea of you being holy, of making and keeping yourself holy, well that needs a little more explanation.


Perhaps Jesus asks you to think of qualities that you would use to describe God—maybe qualities such as loving, forgiving, patient, understanding, generous, and so on. Let’s call these “God qualities.” Then he asks you to think of someone you know who has some God qualities. Who is it? Tell Jesus about this person. (Pause.)


Jesus, a great storyteller himself, might ask you to share a story about this person. It may take some time to choose just one story, but that’s OK. Take the time to remember and then share your story with Jesus. (Pause.)


Jesus explains that God is all-holy. He tells you that you are holy when you act in a God-like manner. When you live your life with generosity, understanding, patience, then you are holy. Yes, you! You are holy.


What an awesome statement. Now think about that. (Pause.) Do you tell Jesus that being holy is what you want, but you’re a little bit worried about being able to live up to that calling? (Pause.)


As usual, Jesus is reassuring. He wants you to know that you don’t become holy all at once. You grow in holiness. You’ll make mistakes but that’s OK. You can always learn from them and try again. He reminds you that the Holy Spirit is always with you to guide you. Jesus says that he himself will help you anytime you need him. (Pause.)


Does that make you feel better? (Pause.) Go with Jesus now deep down into your heart. You’ve discussed a lot with him already, so now just rest in his love. Words are no longer needed. Be still together. Know how much he cares for you. (Pause.)


You recognize that it’s time to go now. If you want a special blessing from Jesus, just ask for it. Remember to thank him, and then say good-bye. (Pause.)


Gradually bring yourself back to the room. (Pause.) Straighten up. (Pause.) Stretch. (Pause.) Plant your feet firmly on the floor. (Pause.) Look all around you. (Pause.) Everyone’s here. We’re all back.


* Scripture citation in this reflection is Leviticus 11:44

About Joe Paprocki 2748 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

7 Comments on A Sample Guided Reflection

  1. It was so wonderful to talk with Jesus and tell Him How I need Him to help me become holy.I love Jesus so much and want to do His will.

  2. Thanks, for talking about guided reflection in the webinar, Joe. I started guided reflection with the second gradersin my class last year after Sister Rita Mary Phalen presented a workship at my parish. I was a bit reluctant since I really did not know if second graders would be able to meditate well. And they ended up loving their special time with Jesus. They would often remind me that we should do our “special place time”. So even the younger grades are able to reflect. I like the content of your script but I will simplify it a bit when I use it in class this year.
    The experience I had with the reflections last year taught me to always keep trying new things with the kids. They will delight and surprise you!

    Thanks for your website. What a great place for catechists to visit.

  3. Dear Joe, I had heard of this technique before, but when you spoke about it at the catechist’s workshop here in Bucks County, PA last spring I decided to give it a try. I wish I hadn’t waited until this new PREP year to start!!! I teach 3rd grade and the kids are loving this. I said today, “Do you want to do that special prayer time again like last week?” and the answer was a very, very enthusiastic yes. (Though, of course, I already had it in my lesson plan.)

    Teaching parish religious education, I know we only have them until 6th grade when they are Confirmed. So I am very focused on giving them the tools to take forward in prayer, Bible and the Mass as that they will need to rely on after PREP ends all too soon.

    Thanks for a wonderful, wonderful new way for me to pray with them. I bought the “Guided Reflections for Children” books and they are super. The lesson in our textbook today was on Mary and there was even a guided reflection in “Praying My Faith” on visiting Mary and talking about the Annunciation with her — the Annunciation being the largest part of my lesson as it was. PERFECT.

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