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This Lent, we invite you to enter into time with God through engagement with the arts. For each week of Lent, we have found visual art, music, and poetry inspired by scripture. You may use these resources however you like, but we also offer guidance for each category in our videos below. You can also find excellent guides to these practices here: for “visio divina”; for “lectio divina”; and for “musica divina.”

How to Pray with Visual Art

How to Pray with Music

How to Pray with Poetry

SCROLL DOWN FOR MATERIAL ORGANIZED WEEK BY WEEK
Visio Divina

Georges de La Tour, Magdalene with Two Flames, 1625-1650 (exact date unknown), oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art NY

daily prayers and art (click image to enlarge):

Lectio Divina

Marked by Ashes

      Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933)

 Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
halfway back to committees and memos,
halfway back to calls and appointments,
halfway on to next Sunday,
halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
half turned toward you, half rather not.

This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
of failed hope and broken promises,
of forgotten children and frightened women,
we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.

We are able to ponder our ashness with
some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.

On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
mercy and justice and peace and generosity.

We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.

 

From Prayers for a Privileged People (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), pp. 27-28.

Visio Divina

Madeleine Dietz: So that, Whoever Enters, Sees the Light; Patrick Scherrer, A Path, a Fence, an Altar and a Yellow Light, installation (Click image to learn more)

 

daily prayers and art (click image to enlarge):

Musica Divina

Nocturne (Alexander Tcherepnin, 1899-1977)
Linda & Jonathan Glover, French Horns

Music for Lent Video 1 (YouTube link)

Lectio Divina

Desert 

by Ruth Burgess

The desert waits,

ready for those who come

who come obedient to the Spirit’s leading;

or who are driven,

because they will not come any other way.

 

The desert always waits

ready to let us know who we are –

the place of self-discovery.

 

And whilst we fear, and rightly,

the loneliness and emptiness and harshness

we forget the angels,

whom we cannot see for our blindness,        

but who come when God decides

that we need their help;

when we are ready

for what they can give us.

 

~ from Bread of Tomorrow

Visio Divina

Qais Al Sindy: Living as a Pilgrim2019, oil and collage on canvas, 45 x 60cm. Learn more about the art and artist here.

Musica Divina

Epistle Sonata No 1. in Eb Major (W. A. Mozart, 1756-1791)
Used by permission from St. James Music Press, License #2125

Video: Music for Lent, Week 2 (Youtube Link)

Lectio Divina

Sabbath

by Christine Valters Paintner

Even as the subway car hurtles  
into the tunnel and calendars heave  
under growing weight of entries, 
even under the familiar lament 
for more hours to do 
 
a bell rings somewhere 
and a man lays down  
his hammer, as if to say 
the world can build without me, 
a woman sets down  
her pen as if to say,  
the world will carry on 
without my words. 
 
The project left undone, 
dust on the shelves,  
dishes crusted with morning 
egg, the vase of drooping 
flowers, and so much work 
still to complete,  
 
I journey across the long field 
where trees cling to the edges 
free to not do anything but  
stand their ground, 
where buttercups 
and bluebells sway 
and in this taste of paradise 
where rest becomes luminous 
and play a prayer of gratitude, 
even the stones sing 
of a different time, 
where burden is lifted 
​and eternity endures.

Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D, is a Benedictine oblate and an American poet and writer living in Galway, Ireland, where she leads pilgrimages and retreats.  

Visio Divina

El Greco (1541-1614), Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple

Musica Divina

Sonata in F Major, Allemande (Jean Baptiste Loeillet, 1688-1720)
Used by permission from St. James Music Press, License #2125

Video: Music for Lent, Week 3 (Youtube Link)

Lectio Divina

The Sun Never Says

by Hafiz

Even
After
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe
Me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
Whole Sky

Visio Divina

Keith Haring, Altarpiece, 1990

Musica Divina

Simple Gifts

Rick Marquardt, banjo
Thom Miles, hammered dulcimer

Peter Teremi, guitar

Lectio Divina

The Peace of Wild Things

by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Visio Divina

Into the Seed © Jan Richardson (The Painted Prayer Book)

 

 

 

Lectio Divina

Fleeting Beauty

Mary Dympna

I picked daisies with tiny fingers,

strung them in a crown through my hair,

but their stems broke with the fury of play,

hung ragged from my locks,

petals tangling in the threads

as they fell I picked up their broken necks,

buried them where they were picked

and I learnt sometimes beautiful things break

Holy Week:
Palm Sunday – Mar. 31
 
Visio Divina

Wilhelm Morgner, Entry into Jerusalem, 1912.

Musica Divina

Basse et Desus de Trompette

(Louis-Nicolas Clérambault, 1676-1749)

Thom Miles, organ

Music for Holy Week Video (YouTube link)

Lectio Divina

Palm Sunday

by Malcolm Guite

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,

The seething holy city of my heart,

The Saviour comes. But will I welcome him?

Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;

They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,

And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find

The challenge, the reversal he is bringing

Changes their tune. I know what lies behind

The surface flourish that so quickly fades;

Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,

The hardness of the heart, its barricades,

And at the core, the dreadful emptiness

Of a perverted temple. Jesus, come

Break my resistance and make me your home.

Visio Divina

Musica Divina

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Lectio Divina

Poetry

Visio Divina

Musica Divina

Stuff Stuff stuuuuuufff!!!

Lectio Divina

Poetry