a sacred gaze : encountering Jesus through art

Eight meditations for Lent or Ordinary timestorm 1

.One  Stillness in the turmoil     ::    trust at midnight      16_1_midnight

.Two   Depth in my inner self     ::         surrender at midday        16_2_midday

.Three   Integrity of inner and outer world ::  surrender today  16_3_today

.Four  Confused by intimacy    ::         trust as darkness falls 16_4_darkness

.Five    Solidarity in suffering and abuse :: surrender mid-morning 16_5_midmorning

.Six    Surprises in Sadness        ::          trust at dawn      16_6_dawn

.Seven       Bewildered           ::           Surrender at sunset          16_7_sunset

.Eight   Celebration of the simple   :      trust at breakfast-time 16_8_breakfast



Each Sacred Gaze comprises:

An opening prayer, from The Open Gate: Celtic prayers for growing spiritually, David Adam (SPCK, 2006), p.17

A few verses from Psalm 107

The image of a painting by Sieger Koder

A personal issue to consider OR a global issue to ponder

A prayer (from Michael Leunig, Macrina Wiederkehr, or David Adam).

Imago Divina prayer  ~ Praying with an art image

Imago divina is an extension of lectio divina or holy reading, a simple way of praying with an image or artwork instead of with Scripture. It leads us naturally from a rational consideration of how a painting might connect with our current life, to a personal response in prayer and a gentle resting in the love of God, the beginnings of contemplation.  Lectio divina emerged as a practice in the early Church, finding its way into European monasticism through Cassian and St Benedict. Nowadays, along with other forms, Lectio, Imago, and Terra Divina (the holy reading of the natural world) are experienced by followers of the Way, as gifts of grace and inclusivegrowth in Christ.

The following suggestions may help you to befriend an image and allow it to speak to you.

Allow yourself to be drawn into this experience with an open heart.

Find a space where you can be alone.

Imago divina
Find an image that attracts your attention – one you like or don’t like, and find a place for the image within your space. Allow yourself to be invited into the mystery it might hold for you – at this time.
Lectio (reading) …..trusting that the Holy Spirit is there to help you, ‘read’ the image really SLOWLY. Some people find that systematically moving your eyes from left to right and top to bottom, helps to slow them down and notice detail. Let the image move deeply into your being, like nourishing rain into the soil. Allow it to touch you.
Meditatio  (reflecting) ..reflect on the art work (or part of it) that has touched you, exploring what it means to you here and now. Let the image resonate with your personal situation; believe that through this process God is communicating with you, perhaps giving an encouragement or a challenge, or calling you to a deeper awareness of God’s love for you.
Oratio  (responding) ..now respond and talk to God about what you have been thinking and what you have noticed. You might pray your response or write in your journal, even sing or dance or paint your response …pray as the Spirit moves you.
Contemplatio  (resting) ..in this final and most important stage, sit quietly with God, at rest in the presence of the One who loves you. Do not worry that you may appear to be doing ‘nothing’. Trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in the depths of your spirit, deepening your faith. Let the image and its message move from your head to your heart to dwell there in peace-full silence.