In this article, catechists and teachers will discover how to use lectio and visio divina in catechesis and during sacramental preparation. This simple lectio divina guide outlines how these practices ignite the imaginations of disciples and candidates. Get ready to dive into the details of lectio divina for kids!
A Simple Lectio Divina Guide for Catechists & Teachers
What does lectio divina mean? What does visio divina mean?
Lectio and visio divina are spiritual practices that lead us deeper into prayer and reflection on Scripture. The Latin phrase lectio divina may be translated as “divine reading,” and the phrase visio divina as “divine seeing.”
As we study a Scripture text through the process of lectio divina and visio divina, we uncover layers of meaning and the text’s applications to our own lives. We can conclude by considering how might be more like Jesus.
With the practice and process of lectio divina and visio divina, children will increase religious imagination, cultivate a deeper understanding of Scripture, and enrich their relationship with Christ.
How to do lectio divina...
Lectio divina is rooted in liturgical celebrations dating back to early monastic communities. In the sixth century, it was first referenced in writing. The Rule of Saint Benedict refers to lectio divina as listening with “the ear of the heart.” Monks practiced lectio divina daily.
The process of lectio divina draws the participant into Sacred Scripture through four movements.
The first movement is lectio – listening in deliberate, slow and careful fashion to the words of Scripture read aloud. This is what it means to listen with the “ear of the heart.”
The second movement is meditatio – meditating on the text to better understand and connect with it.
The third movement is oratio – praying, often without words, letting the prayer arise in us.
The fourth movement is contemplatio – contemplating the text in order to let it unfold and then draw it into our lived experience.
How to do visio divina...
Visio divina is a part of lectio divina, and one of the ways we meditate on Scripture. It refers to the practice of praying with visual images, such as paintings, icons, photographs, or stained glass windows. This spiritual practice relies on both the Scripture text and art to bring the reader to an encounter with God’s Word. Visio divina utilizes religious or Scripture art and includes the process of seeing and visualizing to allow the participant to “hear and see” God’s Word.
Visio divina also utilizes the four movements from lectio divina, but also includes visual images.
The first movement is seeing, as we listen to the words of Scripture, the visual art or image by letting our gaze intentionally rest on it.
The second movement is meditating on both the words and images and letting them lead us to deeper reflection.
The third movement is praying, allowing prayer to arise in us through the words and images.
The fourth movement includes contemplating both imagery and the words of Scripture, and drawing inspiration that connects with our daily lives.
Using Lectio and Visio Divina for Sacramental Preparation
The practices of lectio and visio divina ignites the senses of participants as they “hear and see” God’s Word in an encounter with Sacred Scripture. Lectio and visio divina can be a powerful exercise for adults, youth, and children in catechetical settings.
For those preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation, the practice of lectio and visio divina cultivates a deeper understanding of Scripture and relationship with Christ.
In Sadlier’s Believe · Celebrate · Live Confirmation program, lectio and visio divina play a key role. Candidates for Confirmation encounter a passage from Scripture, and are invited to fix their gaze on breathtaking illuminations that accompany the Scripture passage. They are led through a process for both lectio divina and visio divina that envelops the senses in a two-fold manner.
For lectio divina, candidates begin by listening with the ear of their heart for a word or a short phrase from the Scripture passage that God intends for them. Then candidates consider what the word or phrase means to them.
For visio divina the candidates are invited to fix their gaze on the accompanying illumination, asking God to “open the eyes of their heart,” enabling them to see what God wants them to see. The candidates then respond to reflection questions about what they see, and what it means to them.
You can try this exercise on your own using the steps above, or lead your students through the process. First, find the passage from Scripture you’d like to read and then research companion religious art.
Additional Lectio and Visio Divina Resources
#1 Support Article
An exclusive support article, Using Lectio Divina and Visio Divina, written by Barbara Sutton, D.Min. for the Believe · Celebrate · Live Confirmation program provides tips for facilitating lectio and visio divina in your immediate preparation program for the sacraments. Additional reflection questions support the facilitator in the practices of lectio and visio divina.
To discover more about the process of visio divina or “sacred seeing,” and to explore ways to facilitate the process of listening, seeing, contemplating, and praying with the Word of God, watch this on-demand webinar, also presented by Barbara Sutton, D.Min. Watch Visio Divina: Seeing with the Eyes of Faith now.
#3 Inspirational Readings
For further reading on the spiritual practices of lectio and visio divina for your spiritual or professional development, visit the We Believe and Share blog, where you find a post for both the Spiritual Art of Sacred Listening, and the Spiritual Practice of Visio Divina. Both posts include bright ideas to try and downloadable prayers to enrich your practices of lectio divina and visio divina.
#4 Prayer for Sacred Vision
Download a Prayer for Sacred Vision and share it with kids, families, and adults as a way to open the “eyes” of the heart.