Visio Divina, a term used in the practice of contemplative prayer, means “holy gazing.” This refers to the practice of looking into something with intention and purpose, focusing on a certain object. In our case, the “something” is the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
You may be familiar with Lectio Divina, the ancient form of praying the Scriptures. We select a Scripture passage and read it several times. Then after picking a word or phrase that stands out to us, we close our eyes and enter into quietude and silence with the word of God. It is a form of meditation. We leave behind our distractions and allow the Scripture to speak to us in the silence of our inner self.
In Lectio Divina we use our sense of active listening to lead us into contemplation. Visio Divina is similar, except we use our sense of sight to lead us into contemplation. In Visio Divina, we look, reflect, pray, and ponder on one of the elements of the icon before us. We allow ourselves to simply rest in a quiet silence as we gaze on a particular element—we close our eyes and remain in a space of silent prayer.
When distractions enter our prayer space, we gently acknowledge them, then let them go. Visio Divina should not be approached with a sense of anxiety. It is as simple as being present within the icon we see before us using our sense of sight. —DK
Brother Daniel Korn, CSsR / Fr. Ken Sedlak, CSsR
In Visio Divina, we look, reflect, pray, and ponder on one of the elements
of the icon before us.