Read: Week 53 | On the Road to Emmaus w/ Bishop Boyea | Attempt Visio Divina | The Ghent Altarpiece

June 14, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
You may have heard of Lectio Divina. That’s the practice of prayerfully meditating upon a passage from Sacred Scripture. The term Lectio Divina is Latin for “divine reading”. This week On the Road to Emmaus, however, I want to invite you to attempt Visio Divina. That’s the practice of prayerfully meditating upon a divine image. The term Lectio Divina is Latin for “divine seeing”.  
And what I would like us to see together is the Ghent Altarpiece. It’s the work of the 15th century Flemish painters, Hubert and Jan Van Eyck. You’ll find it in Saint Bavo’s cathedral in the Belgian city of Ghent. It is also known as the “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” as it depicts that great Eucharistic vision of Saint John the Evangelist as recounted in Chapter 19 of his Book of Revelation: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7).

The 12-panelled painting is thought to be the second most visited and viewed work of art in history, after the Mona Lisa.Why does it attract so many souls to it? And how can prayerfully pondering upon the Ghent Altarpiece help us draw closer to our Eucharistic Lord as we continue our pilgrimage On the Road to Emmaus. To help answer those questions, let me introduce a suitably qualified fellow pilgrim.

He is the Jackson-based artist, Joseph Jude Macklin, who is a parishioner at Saint Mary Star of the Sea. Joseph is an alumnus of Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Jackson and Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. In 2020 he established the Instrumentum Dei Studio in Jackson to focus on devotional and liturgical art. Here are his reflections upon the Ghent Altarpiece. Enjoy the film!

+ Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing