Visio Divina | Thursday, September 12th


As we continue this week, focusing in and meditating on the inner work of spiritual formation, let us turn to the ancient practice of visio divina or “divine seeing.”

Visio divina is similar to lectio divina, sharing similar roots in the ancient practices of listening for the voice of God. Here we focus in on an image, or artwork, and are invited to encounter God through imagery. It is another way to powerfully experience God in a unique and powerful way.

With visio divina you focus in on a piece of art as a focal point for prayer. Today, we invite you to join us into this practice through the art piece above, following the directions below. If you would like a soundtrack to the experience, click ‘play’ on the audio file below the image as you meditate. The music will last for just over 5 minutes, and can serve as a timer for you.

PRACTICE | Visio Divina

  1. Take a deep breathe and prepare your heart for prayer. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and ask God to speak through this image.

  2. Open your eyes and look at the image. Let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see. Keep your attention on that one part of the image and work to keep your eyes from wandering to other parts of the picture. Breathe deeply and allow yourself to gaze at this focal point for a minute or so, and then close your eyes and hold that part of the image in your mind.

  3. Open your eyes again and gaze upon the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the image. See it all. Allow a word, an image, or an emotion to rise within your heart.

  4. Consider the following questions:

    • What do you hear God whispering into your heart?

    • What thoughts or questions is this image raising?

    • What emotions do you feel?

    • Does this image lead to an attitude or posture of prayer? If so, let these prayers take form in you.

  5. Rest and Reflect in God. Take this time to offer your prayers in conversation with God, or simply sit in silence and consider how you will take this into your life; what actions are necessary as a result of your experience.

A note about the sculpture:

Paige Bradley, the sculptor of the piece above called ‘Expansion’ said this:

“From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a box already built for us to fit inside. Our umbilical cord never seems to be severed; we only find new needs to fill. If we disconnected and severed our attachments, would we shatter our confinements and expand beyond our shell? Would the world look different? Would we recognize ourselves? Are we the box that we are inside, and to be authentically ‘un-contained’ would we still be able to exist? This is the irony of containment. As long as we don’t push on the walls of our surroundings, we may never know how strong we really are.”

You can read more about the piece, called ‘Expansion,’ on the artists blog.

Aaron MontsUnited Church