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Community Visio Divina: Hospitality – What will you welcome in?

Vienna threshold

Happy New Year!  With January we offer a new invitation for contemplation. Starting in December we returned to a monthly focus on our Monk Manifesto themes. Our focus for this month is on the second principle of hospitality:

I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.

The new year brings a sense of renewed hope and beginning again. What will you welcome into your lifes in the year ahead? How will your word for 2015 break open new insights into your journey? How might this be a threshold of possibility?

We also begin the month with a community invitation into the practice of lectio divina. This month we are inviting you to pray with an image as an adaptation of this contemplative practice in the form of visio divina. Rather than adding more words for you to contemplate, we thought the image of a threshold might be more evocative for our theme. The photo above was received by Christine at Heiligenkreuz Monastery outside of Vienna, Austria.

How Community Visio Divina works:

I invite you to set aside some time this week to pray with the image above. Here is a handout with a brief overview of Visio Divina and how you might practice it (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 the image, listen to what shimmers, allow the images and memories to unfold, tend to the invitation, and then sit in stillness.

After you have prayed with the text (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?

For further refection on our theme stop by these two columns I wrote for Patheos from the Abbey Archives:

Sharing Your Responses

Please share the fruits of your visio divina practice in the comments below (at the bottom of the page) or at our Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group which you can join here. There are over 2700 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.

Join the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group here>>

*Note: If this is your first time posting, or includes a link, your comment will need to be moderated before it appears. This is to prevent spam and should be approved within 24 hours!

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11 Responses

  1. What an image to hold in my heart! My word , which I am just beginning to unwrap, is ‘invitation’. I am strongly drawn to what seems to be an invitation to walk, to move my body as well as an invitation to open the gates of my heart to others. I sense another aspect will be to say ‘yes’ to the invitation to dwell in present moment embracing and welcoming others to it , as well. I often do this with my camera!
    So —what I will welcome in is —–whatever I encounter along my walk through 2015!
    Here is a wonderful sunrise that flooded through the window yesterday morning. A gift to embrace and to share

  2. Fellow dancers, here is how the Lord used this image to speak to me, and hopefully to you too! It will make more sense if I tell you first off that I have been chronically ill for 19 years. These words and precious and personal so please read but do not share, thank you.

    A New Road

    You have paced this courtyard for so long, going round and round in circles, making a groove of pondering and prayer, so that this is now a holy space.

    You see the tarmac beyond and it scares you because it is built for speed. You do not like to go fast, because I have slowed you here to a snail’s pace for such a long time, speed feels foreign to you now. BUT – suppose you were built for speed too – and the slowness has been to make you see, to teach you vision? So that the spiral patterns in the cobbles have fascinated you as you walked along with your head hung low as your mother taught you to?

    Perhaps you might learn to re-love speed, smoothness, a faster road?

    You are always asking for smoothness and stability, an easier way. Perhaps this is it.

    (The blue makes the scene seem underwater, the distant tree tops like coral spikes and branches. But it also reminds me of a picture I was given of how my life feels, walking into a wood expecting green glades and gladness, and instead being caged in by dark branches clawing at my skin, tearing and hurting me. No way out, just this feeling of being trapped and helpless and torn. But in that picture you held out your hand to me and pulled me gently and surely free. Led to a way out by Jesus.

    As we pass through the archway we might imagine that we will be headed for the dark forest, it seems straight ahead. But somewhere inside I know I am going to be veering off to the left, and the object of my fear which I had to head towards to begin with will soon be out of sight.)

    The future is not a fearful place, nor (as you both fear and desire at the same time) a place of sameness. Things are going to change. There is a falling through, a coming out the other side, a rising up, a birthing, a looking around in wonder to see what you have become.

    If I am the gate and I built the way, there is nothing to be afraid of.

    I know you have become afraid even of excitement, you distrust it and have largely forgotten hope. But it has not forgotten you.

    Leave behind the sorry for herself, shuffling in her slippers you, see and become sleek and slippery, fast moving, quick witted, fire of imagination and beauty, a bringer of truth and fable.

    Let the rest slide from you and trust me. Yes the road ahead is smoother, sleeker, heading somewhere, even signposted! Speedier too. But you will not be hankering for this shadowy life, you will be loving your new one too much.
    Thank you Lord.

    This picture also reminded me, with the spirals in the paving and the archway beyond, of this word from the Lord, which may well be worth re-sharing here in case it speaks to anyone.
    Blessings, Keren

  3. I’d love to dance through this threshold dressed as a queen entering into the Bridal chamber of her Beloved! I sense Him saying that in order to hear a true word from Him, I must first “enter into” His courts. I was drawn to the sign on the left – curious as to what it meant. My first thought since it’s red is that it’s some kind of caution. After I blew up the picture I could see that there are 2 arrows, indicating two-way traffic. So what is the caution for me? That although the threshold to the Holy is always open to me, there have been times when I’ve chosen to come out of that Holy place. What brings me out? Un-Christ-like behaviors, thoughts, feelings, judgments… Selah…

  4. I am drawn to delight in the extravagant artistry of this gate, its bold blue and its curves and carvings that are not necessary to the function of a gate, but rather to its quality of invitation and awakening. I think I need to offer more generous hospitality to my inner artist this year. I need to spend more time creating.

  5. strangely, what I sense that I am to ‘welcome in’ is a willingness, a readiness, to ‘go out’. As I view the image, I feel drawn – almost compelled – to go through the gateway into the unknown beyond…. I speak as one who was exceptionally timid for many years, a tendency to self-consciousness that is only now dissipating in my twilight years.