VISIO DIVINA – DIVINE LOOKING

The ancient tradition of reflecting on icons (religious artwork) is strongly associated with the east and the Orthodox tradition. However, iconography is established around the world and continues to be a significant spiritual practice. While conventional icons still play a huge role in 'divine looking', any number of images are good for reflection. You might choose a scene from nature, some contemporary art, even an old map. Try some different images until you find something that works for you.

To get you started here are some images of God derived from Scripture and tradition:

The Father of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:11-32

The Father of the Prodigal Daughter
Luke 15:11-32

The Good Shepherd
Luke 15: 3-7

Mother Hen gathering her chicks
Matthew 23:36-38

King of Kings
Revelation 1:5

Friend and Saviour
John 13:3-9

Creator of the Cosmos
Genesis 1

Ruach, Spirit, Breath
Genesis 1:2

The Way
John 14:6

Rock
Psalm 18:31, Isaiah 44:8

Judge
Psalm 50: 3-6

Wisdom
Wisdom of Solomon 7:7-14

Parent
Psalm 2:7

Score Keeper
Jeremiah 14:10

Punisher
Nahum 1:2

Potter
Isaiah 64:8

All powerful planner
Isaiah 46:9-11

“Old Man in the Sky”

The Trinity
Matthew 28:19

Love
1 John 4:16

Generous Giver
Genesis 1:29

Steadfast
Lamentations 3:22

Light in the darkness
John 1:4-5

Comforter
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Once you have settled on an image, try this process.

  1. 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.
  2. Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the picture. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so.
  3. 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 time of silence.