The Art of Lectio Divina

This week I am offering my lectio divina online class by donation ($25 suggested) with daily emails and weekly guided meditations for 6 weeks to support you in this beautiful practice.  It is my way of offering resources to help you deepen into this ancient and profound contemplative practice. My Lectio Divina book is not included but is highly recommended as an adjunct to the class material.

One of the things I love most about lectio is how it calls us to cultivate a contemplative gaze on the whole of life and so other sacred “texts” such as art, poetry, music, and nature become rich arenas to listen for God’s shimmering presence.  Soon after I was first introduced to lectio I began to engage it as a way of enriching my own art-making process and have led this practice on retreats and even have a whole class focused on bringing the practice of lectio divina to contemplative photography.

You can bring the four movements of lectio to pray with a piece of visual art.  Or you can engage lectio and pray a scripture passage and then create art out of that experience as an extension of the prayer process.  I find lectio can be an amazing source of creative inspiration for my own writing or art-making.

I am delighted today to feature some art and a reflection by Tina Forster who is a fiber artist and dollmaker who creates dolls out of her lectio practice.  Tina participated in one of our Awakening the Creative Spirit retreats and so I have experienced her warm and enthusiastic spirit first-hand.  The images here are of a doll which emerged out of praying with the story of the Woman at the Well.  Click the link below to see more of her beautiful pieces.

Lectio divina has been a spiritual practice I turn to repeatedly. We all have our “favorites” and ones that seem to suit us best, and lectio has been that for me. Part of this practice is sitting with a word or phrase in Scripture or other sacred reading that draws us and letting it deepen within. As a fiber artist/dollmaker, I find that the best way for me to do this is to “work it through my hands” … in this way I bypass my usually overactive thinking mind and can be drawn down to a level where the Spirit speaks. Lately this has taken the form of figures, done in cloth, that take the “word or phrase that stands out the most” and embody it. The expression of that phrase is important as I work – usually a certain image or action will stand out for me: such as the energy of dropping or letting go. Or a certain item will be featured … such as a net, or jar or water. Because these are “embodied” outside of myself in doll form, I can then sit with the finished piece in a contemplative way and let it speak back to me over time. Often the initial “meaning” of the doll will unfold even further as a result. I have found this to be very enriching as it takes something I do naturally – working with cloth – and transforms it into a sacred practice. It’s a way in which I can really “let the Word of Christ dwell in [me] richly” (Col. 3:16).  –Tina Forster

Link to Tina’s art dolls inspired by lectio divina>>

Bio:  Tina Forster is a fiber artist and certified spiritual director whose passion is sharing the healing and contemplative aspects of art-making.  She makes her home far west of Houston in Fulshear, Texas with her husband and two young adult children, who fly in and out of the nest.

For more information about lectio stop by this interview with me at The Sunshine Abbey on the process (if you scroll down to the end you will find an outline of the four movements of prayer).

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