Visio Divina for chapter 9

VISIO DIVINA: ‘Holy Reading’ Using a Work of Art

Lectio Divina, an ancient monastic practice, is a meditative way of reading Scripture.
Visio Divina is another way of holy ‘reading’, opening up God’s message through art.


Taking of JC
‘The Taking of JC’ by Joseph Pisani

Lectio: Read the picture slowly and quietly. Give it time to open up in you.

Meditatio: Reflect upon what the picture is saying to you – and what you want to talk
to God about – because of what the picture suggests or represents.

OratioRespond by writing down what has entered your spirit. Now circle a word or phrase from what you have written.

Contemplatio: Rest with your word or phrase, allowing the Holy Spirit’s wisdom to speak to your spirit.


#1. Gaze again at the picture of Judas kissing Jesus, as though the scene were occurring in front of you. In his book “The Heart Aroused” by David Whyte (pp. 259-260),
a Native American elder speaks about waking up to save one’s self:


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers.
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

#2. Gaze once again at the picture of Judas kissing Jesus, as though the scene were occurring in front of you. In her book “Thirst” (p. 69), poet Mary Oliver offers us another way to see. How do we search for our own unknown goodness?


Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the
hour and the bell; grant me in your
mercy, a little more time. Love for the
earth and love for you are having such a
long conversation in my heart. Who
knows what will finally happen or
where I will be sent, yet already I have
given a great many things away, expecting
to be told to pack nothing, except the
prayers which, with this thirst, I am
slowly learning.

Can you share something of your experience with these meditations on the blog?  

Contemplative Eucharist

In the final chapter of Things Hidden, Richard Rohr points to the Eucharist as a contemplative practice. * The next time you participate in the Eucharist, ‘do this’  with a contemplative mind and heart: 

bread loaf
Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:14-23;
John 13:1-35;
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Jesus said, “Do this….” 

After I leave, just keep doing this until I come back again.

Take your whole life in your hands, as I am about to do tonight and tomorrow.

Now thank God, because your life is pure gift.

Now break it (your life), let it be broken, give it away and don’t protect it.

Now chew on that, drink that!

Then continue to eat and drink together until I return.

 When we ‘do this’ with contemplative awareness,

We are receiving the heart of Jesus’ message.

We are entering into a new covenant based on love and divine union.

We are eating and drinking our own deaths – walking into the mystery of death and, like Jesus, trusting that we will find resurrection on the other side…

And we are offering our own bodies for everything that Christ still needs to accomplish. (Colossians 1:24). 

The goal is mutual indwelling

The whole movement of the Bible is toward ever-greater incarnation and embodiment, until the mystery of mutual indwelling is finally experienced – even here, in this world and this life. We then move on to the banquet that we call eternal life or heaven.

The clear goal and direction is mutual indwelling, where ‘the mystery is Christ within you, your hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

In this mutual indwelling we no longer live as just ourselves, but in a larger force field called the body of Christ (Galatians 2:20).

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.

For we are convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:35-39)

* from Things Hidden (p. 215-220)