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
- Pick out an image from a website, a photograph, painting, or icon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Now, offer your prayers to God in a final time of silence.