The Practice of Visio Divina

February 22, 2021 | Written by Caitlin Garrett & Hannah Unger

Jesus Christ – The Good Shepherd by Kiko Argüello

Visio Divina is a thoughtful and slow way of contemplating a visual prompt – a piece of art, photograph or image – and inviting God to speak to you through it.

As you engage in this season of Lent, you’ll notice that each Monday in the Experience Guide, you’re given an image to ponder.

For those who have never tried anything like this before, we want to help walk you through today’s Visio Divina practice:

Embrace by Sieger Köder

First, focus on the detail that your eyes are drawn to right away – keep focus there and pay attention to what thoughts and emotions you are having.

Then, look at the entire image and consider it as a whole, being aware of thoughts, questions and emotions it provokes.

End in silence and prayer, considering your experience and anything you feel called to respond to.

Keep reading for a more extensive walk through for practicing Visio Divina!

Visio Divina – The Practice of Sacred Seeing

“The practice of Visio Divina (Latin for “divine seeing”) is a prayer practice that creates space to listen and pay attention to the Holy in our lives.

Based on the 6th century monastic practice of Lectio Divina, where the object of prayer is a passage of scripture, Visio Divina allows the Spirit to speak through images.

Get Ready: Take a few moments to get ready. Find a comfortable position where you can gaze at the photograph. Settle into God’s presence by connecting with your breath. Move your awareness from your head into your heart.

Know that God can be known through many different forms and images.

Be present. Be open.

Eyes to See: Allow your eyes to gaze gently on your image. Let them sweep the whole of the picture. Notice the shapes and the colors. Notice the lines and the details. Look for symbols.

Notice if there is a place on the image where your eye is invited to linger. Are you called back again and again to a certain detail or color? Try not to think about it too much. Simply notice where your energy is drawn. Notice where you eye is avoiding or passing over. What part inspires you? Where do you experience resistance?

Slowly become aware of the place on the image that is just for you today. It might be a color, a shape, or a tiny detail. Linger here. Be open and present to this.

Open Heart: Take a second longer look. Open your imagination. As you reflect on your place on the image, what feelings or longings are evoked? What memories or hopes are stirred? Make room within your heart for whatever wants to emerge.

Be here. Be present. Let go of judging or critiquing. Simply be, lingering here, opening your heart to whatever wants to rise.

Respond: Slowly begin to notice what being revealed in your seeing and through what you are feeling.

What is the invitation in this moment of your life? In the day-to-day life you are living what is God calling you to do or be? What insights have you gained? What invitation is growing in you? What work would you like to do today?

Enjoy: Let go. Rest. Enjoy a few moments of stillness in this space.

You may want to spend time reflecting on your experience or in your journal.”

Janice MacLean – The Prayer Bench

We hope you’ll continue to lean into this season of Lent with us. We’ve put together a Lenten Experience Guide full of helpful resources and ways you can participate in these weeks leading up to Easter!

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