Devotions based on Juliet Benner’s book, Contemplative vision
After reading Juliet’s book, I am beginning to think we are all visually challenged as we miss so much of what is around us and in front of us. Our spiritual seeing is also conditioned by our physical seeing. When we are oblivious to the things our physical eyes invite us to notice, it is hard to be attentive to the spiritual things. She teaches people how to read ( or see) works of religious art as they meditate on a scripture. In the Middle Ages Biblical art began as expressions of the artists’ own meditation on Scripture and was used to help others get a deeper understanding of faith. Art was viewed as the poor man’s Bible. Gregory the Great said that “the purpose of painting is for the illiterate what writing is for those who read.” The churches proclaimed the Word as the walls and windows had visual depictions from the Bible in paintings, mosaics, stained glass etc. Cathedrals were designed in shapes of the cross and even the spires on the landscape were a visual reminder to the people to pray. When the reformation came which brought with it the emphasis of Word alone, many visual images were removed. But God wants to meet us in heart, mind, body, soul, senses, and imagination. We miss so much if we are limited with only our minds.