Benedictine Spirituality

Envision the Benedictine value of Prayer through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

This is the fist of 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions.

Joseph O’Connell’s Sculptures: Prayer, Work and Community

The brochure “Vision Through Sculpture,” published by The Sisters of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, explains that “In 1982, Joseph O’Connell . . . was commissioned by the Emerson Hynes family” to create a sculpture for the monastery. Using the Benedictine women who first came to St. Joseph, Minnesota as his inspiration, he portrays the Benedictine values of prayer, work and community that sustained the women as they “struggled with the pioneer challenges of poverty, hard work, hunger and illness.” We will use these sculptures for our first three visio divina meditations.

The Benedictine Value of Prayer through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

“Prayer” Limestone Sculpture by Joseph O’Connell

How to Practice Visio Divina:

Close your eyes and clear your mind.

Open your eyes and “read” the whole image. Close your eyes and rest.

Meditate on the image, let your eyes be drawn to one part of the image. Name this part.

Close your eyes and see that part of the image in your mind.

Open your eyes and look at that part of the image; notice your response — a word, another image, an emotion.

Close your eyes and rest.

Open your eyes and look at the whole image. What is speaking to you? How will you respond to this?

Sculptures by Joseph O’Connell (1927-1995) are located in the Gathering Place of Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Photos by Tracy Rittmueller with permission to publish on this blog.

Envision a self-story in which you value prayer

Using Timothy Wilson’s story-editing technique from his book Redirect.

You might journal about why prayer is difficult or why you don’t, more often than not, make time for regular, scheduled prayer and meditation in your life. Do you feel other things are more important? Do you forget or get distracted? Do you think God doesn’t care? Why and how is prayer difficult for you?

See yourself as a person who believes in the value of prayer and meditation. Consider, and perhaps journal, about why it is good to pray, to open your heart to divine wisdom. Consider how you could arrange your schedule to make time for prayer. Think and/or write about yourself as a person who is, or could be, prayerful.

Ask God to help you pray.

Now relax and let your growth as a prayerful person happen organically over time, by the opportunities and graces given to your, trusting that a growing prayer life will bring increasing peace into your heart, into your life and the lives of those around you. To pray is to transform the world by opening our own hearts to transformation.

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