Visio Divina

by Beth Richardson on August 15, 2012 · 18 comments

Painted Background

Visio divina invites the viewer into “divine seeing.” Visio divina shares roots with the ancient practice of lectio divina. (Lectio divina calls for a slow, careful interaction with scripture through meditation and prayer, allowing a word or phrase to rise in one’s consciousness, a holy word to be savored and examined.) Similarly, visio divina invites one to encounter the divine through images. A prayerful consideration of and interaction with a photograph in the magazine, icon, piece of art, or other visual representation allows the viewer to experience the divine in a unique and powerful way.

Visio divina can be practiced individually or with a group in a small group or worship setting by using a piece of art as a focal point for prayer. Scripture can also be paired with the image in order for the viewer to reflect on the scripture through the art.

Try Visio Divina

  1. Pick out an image from pages of Alive Now, a photograph, painting, or icon.
  2. Look at the image and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see. Keep your attention on that one part of the image that first catches your eye. Try to keep your eyes from wandering to other parts of the picture. Breathe deeply and let yourself gaze at that part of the image for a minute or so.
  3. Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the photograph. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so.
  4. Consider the following questions:
    • What emotions does this image evoke in you?
    • What does the image stir up in you, bring forth in you?
    • Does this image lead you into an attitude of prayer? If so, let these prayers take form in you. Write them down if you desire.
  5. Now, offer your prayers to God in a final time of silence.

More on the practices of lectio divina. Click here.


Art Credit: iStockphoto / ThinkStock

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Julett M. Broadnax September 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I sat with this picture – on first glance it just seemed a jumble, but eventually settled on a nun like figure to the far right and bottom of the blue part. Then I saw a face in the blue part – and it became me in a womb. I was looking toward the vast space outside the womb – filled with a fiery color. My feeling was of holding back safely in the womb, waiting for rebirth into what to me is a vast unknown.
That is exactly what I am feeling right now – that I am gestating in a womb before I am transformed into another vibrant area of my life – completely unknown and unknowable to me right now. It is like I have to gird up for the journey ahead – and not emerge until I feel completely secure and serene in that next step. Thank you for this visio meditation.

Reply

Beth Richardson September 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Julett,

All I can say is WOW! Thank you for sharing your process. Very powerful.

Prayers for you in this time of transformation. Thank you for sharing.

Beth

Reply

Kerry February 21, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Would love to know the source of the artwork.

Reply

Beth Richardson February 22, 2014 at 8:39 am

Kerry, I wish we knew more about the art. We got the photo from Thinkstock. Don’t know the story behind it …

Blessings — and thanks for taking the time to ask.

Beth

Reply

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