Artwork: “In the Shelter of Your Wings” © Mary Southard, CSJ
Used with permission courtesy of www.marysouthardart.org
With December comes a new invitation for contemplation. This month I invite you into a visio divina practice, which is an adaptation of lectio divina. In visio divina we are invited to see with the eyes of our heart, much in the way lectio calls us to listen with the ears of our heart.
I was drawn to this piece of art by Mary Southard for the month of December because we are entering the season of Advent, which is a season of waiting, and in the northern hemisphere, a time to enter more intentionally into the expanse of night and dreamtime. These darkening days call us to surrender our own plans and initiative and yield to the call of mystery found in long nights. The birthing which we await at Christmas only comes through this period of gestation and leaning into the unknown.
How Community Lectio (and Visio) Divina works:
For the year I am choosing an overarching theme of discernment. I feel like the Abbey is in the midst of some wonderful transition, movement, and expansion.
How amazing it would be to discern together the movements of the Spirit at work in the hearts of monks around the world.
I invite you to set aside some time this week to pray with the text below. Here is a Visio Divina handout (feel free to reproduce this handout and share with others as long as you leave in the attribution at the bottom – thank you!)
Lean into silence, pray with the image, look for what shimmers, allow the images and memories to unfold, tend to the invitation, and then sit in stillness.
After you have prayed with the image (and feel free to pray with it more than once – St. Ignatius wrote about the deep value of repetition in prayer, especially when something feels particularly rich) spend some time journaling what insights arise for you.
How is this image calling to your dancing monk heart in this moment of your life?
What does this image have to offer to your discernment journey of listening moment by moment to the invitation from the Holy?
What wisdom emerged that may be just for you, but may also be for the wider community?
Sharing Your Responses
Please share the fruits of your visio divina practice in the comments below or at our Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group which you can join here. There are almost 1000 members and it is a wonderful place to find connection and community with others on this path.
You might share the word or phrase that shimmered, the invitation that arose from your prayer, or artwork you created in response. There is something powerful about naming your experience in community and then seeing what threads are woven between all of our responses.