Visio Divina (baptised in gold)

I had the privilege of being able to spend some time in a couple of London’s galleries & museums this summer. Of all I saw, this sculpture particularly struck me, partly, I suspect because I was not expecting it.

“Girl Baptised in Gold”, Kim Simonsson
“Girl Baptised in Gold”, Kim Simonsson

We stumbled upon it on the fourth floor of the V&A, tucked in the corner of one of the last rooms of the ceramics galleries. This humble placement seems significant to my experiences and appreciation of the piece.

The sculpture is entitled “Girl Baptised in Gold” by Kim Simonsson. I’ll delay my response to this artwork for a moment as I want to highlight the mediative practice which shaped my reflection.

This meditative practice can be helpful as we spend time with an object or image. It tends to be called ‘Visio Divina’ — following the tradition of Lectio Divina (‘Holy Reading’) for meditating on scripture. 

You can do this in a number of ways. Here are four stages you May find helpful to go through as you seek to do this:

1. ‘Visio’ — look, scan your eyes over the image, notice the colours, shapes, composition. Don’t pause for meaning at this point. Just take it all in

2. ‘Meditatio’ – let one part of the image which particularly draws your attention become a place to pause and meditate. What is it here that you notice? How does it affect you today?

3. Oritatio- give thanks for what has been bought to your attention. Treasure and note down what had come up during the silence. Perhaps responding with your own creativity- some lines of poetry or a sketch. Let your response become part of your prayer. 

4. Contemplatio – rest with God in this moment 

I invite you to use this to reflect on this image or another image which has come to your attention recently.

Below is my poetic response to this artwork.

Girl Baptised in Gold (a reflection)

Tucked away humbly
In the corner
Gold dripping

You stare
At what is at hand
A small reflection 
Of the abundance poured
On your head
(Beyond your vision)

You treasure
What you see
Has been given 
And that is your gift
And it will not be taken from you. . .

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