Friday, May 1, 2020

Art, Music and Prayer

We often think of prayer as something we read, say, or listen to. But prayer can also be a visual experience. You know that saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ Images and music can often evoke deep feeling and meaning so art can bring another dimension to prayer.

We can use art for reflection or meditation as the work of art cam inspire us or we can even create a piece of art ourselves. Art has always been important in Christianity in frescos, paintings, icons, stained glass and they were often used as one of the first ways of understanding some of the great Biblical stories particularly before the printing press!

Visio Divina, which means ‘divine seeing’ and invites us to encounter the divine through images and similarly Audio Divina using music.

There are five  steps:

preparation by clearing your mind
looking at the image or listening  
     To use Visual art as an example 

Pick out an image from a website, a photograph, painting, or icon.

Look at the image and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see. Keep your attention on that one part of the image that first catches your eye. Try to keep your eyes from wandering to other parts of the picture. Breathe deeply and let yourself gaze at that part of the image for a minute or so.

Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the photograph. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so.

Consider the following questions:
What emotions does this image evoke in you?
What does the image stir up in you, bring forth in you?
Does this image lead you into an attitude of prayer?
If so, let these prayers take form in you. Write them down if you desire.

Now, offer your prayers to God in a final time of silence.
Creating our own art can be both a source of inspiration and a form of expression.

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven:
Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music
to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth;
and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty,
and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

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