image Visio Divina

The Rublev Icon

Visio Divina follows the pattern of Lectio Divina using sacred art. It fosters the practice of sacred seeing. These links show different ways of exploring this spiritual practice.

“Authentic Christian art is that which, through sensible perception, gives the intuition that the Lord is present in his Church, that the events of salvation history give meaning and orientation to our life, that the glory that is promised us already transforms our existence. Sacred art must tend to offer us a visual synthesis of all dimensions of our faith” St. John Paul II, Veneration of Holy Images, no. 11

A Method of Visio Divina

Pray in quiet with your eyes closed. Bring yourself towards stillness.

Gaze at the image. Let your eyes rest on the characters and objects. Note your feelings as you examine the whole and parts of the work.

Read or listen to accounts of the events. They might be scripture, insights into the work, guided meditation

Gaze at the work again. Imagine that you are in this scene. What do you see from your vantage point? What you hear? smell? sense?

How is the sacred present to you in this experience?

How does this Visio Divina relate to your life now?

What insight from this experience do you want to retain? How will you do that?

Complete the Visio Divina by offering a prayer of thanksgiving.

Notes: This method can be adapted to individual or group settings. Periods of silence should be included according to comfort level.

Arts and Faith- Visual Arts From the brilliant canvases of the Renaissance to the stained-glass artwork in your church, Christians have long used vibrant colors and images to showcase the depth and breadth of God’s love. The articles in this section highlight those who share their spirituality visually using all types of media. – from Loyola Press

How to Pray with the Eyes of the Heart  Kathryn Shirey explains how she discovered Visio Divina and suggests a five step approach (Preparation, Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio,) She uses Rembrandt’s “The Storm at Sea” to explain this spiritual practice.


Praying with Art – Visio Divina

While Lectio Divina is a method of praying with scripture, Visio Divina (Latin for “divine seeing”) is a method for praying with images or other media.-  Tim Mooney

“Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.”

CCC, no. 2502

Praying with Art – Jesuits in Britain

“In the Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius gives us the idea of meeting sacred scripture with one’s own life, mediated through Imaginative Contemplation. The aim of these reflections is to do this in tandem with pieces of art. Each month therefore, we will offer a painting in the hope that it will enable you to reflect more deeply on a particular passage of scripture. The idea is that you can return to the painting and scripture and discover more depth throughout the month.

In collaboration with Geoff Wheaton SJ we will be releasing a new reflection every month. Geoff studied Religious Art at the Jesuit School of Theology Berkeley, and then did an MA in Victorian Art and Architecture at Royal Holloway College University of London. Nowadays the focus of his ministry is to deepen our relationship with the Christ of the Scriptures with the aid of the wonderful images in painting, frescoes, mosaics, sculpture and stained glass from the catacombs to the present day. He gives lectures and courses on Scripture and Art around the world.”

Visio Divina – Beth Richardson

“Visio divina invites the viewer into “divine seeing.” Visio divina shares roots with the ancient practice of lectio divina. (Lectio divina calls for a slow, careful interaction with scripture through meditation and prayer, allowing a word or phrase to rise in one’s consciousness, a holy word to be savored and examined.) Similarly, visio divina invites one to encounter the divine through images.”

Visio Divina Videos – University of Portland

“Welcome to the Visio Divina video archive. Visio Divina — “sacred seeing” — is an ancient form of Christian prayer in which we allow our hearts and imaginations to enter into a sacred image, in silence, to see what God might have to say to us. The videos below offer guided experiences of Visio Divina. All that is required is your receptive, contemplative silence.”

Visio Divina Video from Sadlier

Ignite the imagination of your young disciples. Religious art provides an opportunity to see and hear the Word of God. This practice of praying with visual images is called Visio Divina or divine seeing. Dr. Barabara Sutton shares about the process of sacred seeing and how to facilitate the process of listening, seeing, contemplating, and praying with the Word.

Salt and Light Witness Fr. Marius Zerafa In an adventure befitting a best-selling spy thriller, Dominican Fr. Marius Zerafa led a quest to recover a stolen Caravaggio painting. Such is the remarkable life of this Maltese-born priest and art historian, who lectures at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). Fr. Zerafa sits down with Witness host Fr. Thomas Rosica to discuss his love of sacred art.

“While the particular expressions of sacred art vary from culture to culture, authentic sacred art turns human minds, hearts, and souls, toward God” and urges catechists to revive the traditional practice of using great works of art “to instruct the faithful on the fundamental truths of the faith.” National Directory for Catechesis, no. 37 B,1

A Reader’s Guide to Orthodox Icons

This is a site devoted to Holy Orthodox Icons. For those of you who are interested in such sacred images, I hope you have already gained much from contemplating and praying before them. Perhaps you have already experienced an Icon “speaking” to you. But of course an icon doesn’t speak to you anymore than a book speaks to you. What you gain from a book comes through either reading or hearing the words read to you. Moreover, what you gain is dependant upon how much of the language you understand.

Free-to-use artworks for readings from the Roman Catholic lectionary. These give suggestions for art that can be used for Visio Divina. See also the weekly posts on CARFLEO that can be used for Lectio and Visio Divina.

Christian Art Today

“Our mission is simple: Art and Christianity no longer resonate as an inherent, magnificent pairing. Actually it is a feeling that goes both ways: most Christians no longer see Art as being important or even as a relevant way of promoting the faith; and non believers don’t value Christianity as having been at the forefront of the arts throughout the centuries, responsible for creating some of the most magnificent artworks out there. Our offering is simple: one newsletter a day where we simply send you the Gospel reading of the day, alongside a work of art that we believe is poignant, reflective and appropriate to that reading. We offer a short reflection on the artwork and the reading. We simply give you the tools for you to meditate on the daily Gospel alongside a work of art. We are an apostolate within the Roman Catholic Church, based in London,” England.

Visio Divina from Nature

Les Miller offers some examples of Visio Divina of creation using his book, Northern Light.

See also the following CARFLEO posts:

Click on file for the original pdf from CHAUSA


  1. Loved this post!! A wonderful resource that inspires an appreciation for the incredible capacity of visual art to fan the flames of faith. Thank you!

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