Windows to Heaven

Just when I settled on my way, I found that Foster's text turned; it would be a stretch to try to find a breath prayer in Chapter 3 of Sanctuary of the Soul.

That is fine. In fact, it seems often to go this way in spiritual life. We settle on a process, a path, and something shifts.

The shift in this case was from the cerebral to the creative, from words to visions and connections. Foster discussed three “windows to heaven”: the imagination, lectio divina, and the community of the saints.

Most interesting was the brief discussion of imagination and how, in its way, it also infuses lectio and our understanding of community past and present. This is prayer turned painting (especially through the use of icons), prayer absorbed in pictures and a washing-over, prayer as a heritage we share with generations before us.

My favorite quote was, “allow the Lord to give you many delightful images and pictures of God’s desires for humanity.”

I am reminded of the work of scientist John Medina, who discusses how the lion’s share of our brains is given over to the visual. I’m not sure how this works for someone who can’t see, though I imagine that, in vision’s stead, touch can give shape to some kind of “visual” construction. In this case, it would be one of hopeful connections, grace-full constructions.

So I come to this today: God who sees, let me see. A breath prayer, after all.

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Blogger Maureen said...

Oh, if you haven't yet, you must read Oliver Sacks's book "The Mind's Eye", which offers some fascinating stories about seeing. It is not necessarily the case that those who have visual problems or neurological disorders that cause visual problems do not "see" and so must rely on another sense. (I highlighted the book in a post in February.)

I think you might enjoy some of Christine Valters Paintner's books. One is "Lectio Divina: Ttransforming Words and Images Into Heart-Centered Prayer" (Spring 2011) and another is "Water, Wind, Earth and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements". She just published "The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom". She writes beautifully.

Blogger Glynn said...

I like that chapter title, "sanctuary of the soul" - a place of worship and a place of refuge.


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