Thursday, June 4, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
MEDITATING WITH ART
Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colors. shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look and listen.
Pope John Paul II
No one comes to art with a clear heart, soul and mind free from the events of the day. All beholders approach the art from their own history, their fears and joys, their sorrows and pain. It is often through the hues of these realities that the art appears before the beholder.
The practice of meditating with art is often referred to as visio divina or "holy seeing," corresponding to the practice of "praying the scriptures," lectio divina or "holy reading." In both cases, the hope is not to receive more information, such as the historical background of the text or the techniques of the artist. Our hope is to be formed by the experience of God's presence in and through the words or the image.
Therefore, we come before the image prayerfully, with openness to the ways in which God might use this time, and without judging the work as art. We ask, "What does God want me to see? What word is God speaking to me through this image? What do I wish to say to God in response? What is God calling me to be or do?"
One Way of Doing It
Using Edward Hopper's Hotel Room, 1931, above
1. QUIET: Take a few moments for centering. You might use Breathing Meditation. Disengage from the day's other preoccupations. Pray for an openness to God's presence and peace.
2. ATTENTION: Look over the entire painting. What are your first impressions? What is the first thing that catches your eye? Where does your eye travel? Is there a figure, shape, color, texture or word that calls your attention?
3. NOTICE: What are you feeling? What thoughts or questions are beginning to form? In what way do you experience God? What is God revealing, calling or saying to you? Sit in silent openness before the painting for as long as you desire.
4. RESPOND: Respond to God as you feel led, perhaps using a journal, perhaps speaking aloud. The response might be a prayer, a song, a question or continued silence.
5. CLOSE: Pray the Lord's Prayer or use some other gesture as a way to bring this time to a close.
(Additional suggestions and resources for Praying with Art will be posted on the companion website Resources for Daily Prayer.)