Frontal Lobe: Controls how we react to situations Emotionally (Passions).
Five (5) External Senses
Cerebrum: Controls how we respond to different
Sensory signals (Sensation).
Four (4) Internal Senses
Pons: Controls our Breathing and Heartbeat.
He (Satan) is the Malign, Clever Seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the Senses, the Imagination and the Libido, through Utopian Logic, or through Disordered Social Contacts in the give-and-take of our activities, so that he can bring about in us Deviations that are all the more Harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our Profound, Instinctive Aspirations.
Blessed Pope Paul VI
From the Classic Spiritual Handbook, The Spiritual Combat by Father Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, we read more about Satan's Adverse Usage of our Imagination: "The frustration of the Enemy in his first and second attacks will not discourage him from trying again to bring about your Ruin. He would have you unconscious of your Actual Vices and Passions, filling your Imagination with Visions of a Chimerical Perfection which he knows you will never attain".
Satan himself Fell to Sin by using his Imagination to envision himself Exalted like God. Satan was cast out of Heaven as a result. Likewise, using our Imaginations Sinfully places an Obstacle between us and God. Thankfully, we have the Power to Control our Thoughts and Honor God with them.
As explained by Saint Thomas Aquinas below, our Guardian Angel, Saint Michael and the Heavenly Host can also influence our Imagination for the Good. The Good Angels are restrained, however, by our lack of Prayer.
from the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas
I answer that, both a Good and a Bad Angel by their Own Natural Power can move the Human Imagination. This may be explained as follows. For it was said above (110, 3), that Corporeal Nature obeys the Angel as regards Local Movement, so that whatever can be caused by the Local Movement of Bodies is subject to the Natural Power of the Angels. Now it is manifest that Imaginative Apparitions are sometimes caused in us by the Local Movement of animal spirits and humors. Hence Aristotle says (De Somn. et Vigil.) [De Insomniis iii.], when assigning the cause of Visions in Dreams, that "when an animal sleeps, the blood descends in abundance to the Sensitive Principle, and Movements descend with it", that is, the Impressions left from the Movements are preserved in the animal spirits, "and move the Sensitive Principle"; so that a certain appearance ensues, as if the Sensitive Principle were being then changed by the External Objects themselves. Indeed, the Commotion of the Spirits and Humors may be so great that such appearances may even occur to those who are awake, as is seen in mad people, and the like. So, as this happens by a Natural Disturbance of the humors, and sometimes also by the Will of Man who voluntarily Imagines what he previously experienced, so also the same may be done by the Power of a Good or a Bad Angel, sometimes with Alienation from the Bodily Senses, sometimes without such Alienation. (First Part - Question 111)
More Thoughts on Imagination
from "On Cleaving to God"
Happy therefore is the person who by continual Removal of Fantasies and Images, by turning within, and raising the Mind to God, finally manages to dispense-with the Products of the Imagination, and by so doing works within, Nakedly and Simply, and with a pure Understanding and Will, on the Simplest of all Objects, God. (Nota Bene: Simplicity is an Attribute of God) So eliminate from your Mind all Fantasies, Objects, Images and Shapes of all things other than God, so that, with just naked Understanding, Intent and Will, your practice will be concerned with God Himself within you.
For this is the end of all Spiritual Exercises - to turn the Mind to the Lord God and rest in Him with a completely pure Understanding and a completely Devoted Will, without the Entanglements and Fantasies of the Imagination. This sort of Exercise is not practiced by Fleshly Organs nor by the Exterior Senses, but by that by which one is indeed a Man. For a Man is precisely Understanding and Will. For that reason, in so far as a Man is still playing with the Products of the Imagination and the Senses, and holds to them, it is obvious that he has not yet emerged from the Motivation and Limitations of his Animal Nature, that is of that which he shares in common with the Animals. For these Know and Feel Objects by means of Recognized Shapes and Sense Impressions and no more, since they do not possess the Higher Powers of the Soul. But it is different with Man, who is Created in the Image and Likeness of God with Understanding, Will, and Free Choice, through which he should be directly, purely and nakedly impressed and united with God, and firmly adhere to Him. For this reason the Devil tries eagerly and with all his power to Hinder this practice so far as he can, being Envious of this in Man, since it is a sort of Prelude and Initiation of Eternal Life. So he is always trying to draw Man's Mind away from the Lord God, now by Temptations or Passions, now by Superfluous Worries and Pointless Cares, now by Restlessness and Distracting Conversation and Senseless Curiosity, now by the Study of Subtle Books, Irrelevant Discussion, Gossip and News, now by Hardships, now by Opposition, etc. Such matters may seem trivial enough and hardly Sinful, but they are a Great Hindrance to this Holy Exercise and Practice. Therefore, even if they may appear useful and necessary, they should be Rejected, whether great or small, as Harmful and Dangerous, and put out of our Minds.
Above all therefore it is necessary that things Heard, Seen, Done and Said, and other such things, must be received without adding things from the Imagination, without Mental Associations and without Emotional Involvement, and one should not let past or future Associations, Implications or Constructs of the Imagination form and grow. For when Constructs of the Imagination are not allowed to enter the Memory and Mind, a Man is not Hindered, whether he be engaged in Prayer, Meditation, or Reciting Psalms, or in any other Practice or Spiritual Exercise, nor will they recur again. So commit yourself confidently and without hesitation, all that you are, and everything else, individually and in general, to the unfailing and totally reliable Providence of God, in Silence and in Peace, and He will Fight for you. He will Liberate you and Comfort you more fully, more effectively and more satisfactorily than if you were to Dream about it all the time, day and night, and were to cast around Frantically all over the place with the Futile and Confused Thoughts of your Mind in Bondage, nor will you wear-out your Mind and Body, wasting your time, and Stupidly and Pointlessly exhausting your Strength.
So accept everything, separately and in general, wherever it comes from and whatever its origin, in Silence and Peace, and with an equal Mind, as coming to you from a Father's Hand and His Divine Providence. So Render your Imagination bare of the Images of all Physical Things as is appropriate to your State and Profession, so that you can cling to Him with a bare and undivided Mind, as you have so often and so completely vowed to do, without anything whatever being able to come between your Soul and Him, so that you can pass Purely and Unwaveringly from the Wounds of His Humanity into the Light of His Divinity.
Imagination and Prayer
by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.
Donít tell me that Prayer is easy. It is demanding, not only on the Spirit, but also, and with emphasis, on the Body. Consequently, we must be Willing to Sacrifice Bodily Ease or Convenience in order to Pray as we should.
When we speak of Sacrificing Bodily Ease in order to Pray; this does not mean only or mainly ease of the Bodily Limbs, like the Hands or Feet. It especially means the Sacrifice of Bodily Faculties, like the Imagination. If there is One (1) Faculty of our Four (4) Internal Senses that needs to be controlled in Prayer, it is the Imagination. This is so important that it deserves further explanation.
There are Two (2) kinds of Imagination. One is the Act or Power of forming a Mental Image of something that is not present to the Five (5) External Senses and is a Distraction to what we should have in Mind. We can Picture or Hear, Feel or Smell or Taste in our Interior Senses anything. And the word is anything.
Question. Are we to use our Imagination when we Pray? Yes, indeed! Let me quote at some length how St Ignatius directs a person making the Spiritual Exercises, here in Meditating on Christís Birth in Bethlehem.
As is obvious, the proper use of our Imagination is necessary for the practice of Mental Prayer. We use our Wills to direct our Four (4) Internal Senses to see and hear, in Imagination indeed, what our Meditation should be reflecting on as we Pray.
However, when we Pray, we are not only to use our Imagination as just explained. We are also to Control our Imagination to keep it from Roaming-Away from what should be on our Minds when we Pray. The popular name for this Roaming Imagination is Distractions in Prayer.
This calls for a great deal of Discipline, so much so that I do not think there is a single aspect of the Spiritual Life that is more demanding on our Human Nature than to Pray without allowing Distractions to interfere with our Prayerful Contact with God.
We are talking about the need of Sacrificing our Bodily Ease or Convenience in order to Pray as we should. The Single most demanding Bodily Sacrifice we have to make in this World is the Self-Denial required to Pray as we should and not allow our Imagination to compete-with Centering-our-Attention on God.