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Welcome to If Necessary Use Words

Building a More Compassionate World

About Visio Divina

If Necessary Use Words provides a way of diving deeply into scriptures using Visio Divina, which means “sacred sight.” This method of reflection and action calls on us to use multiple senses.  We recommend that you try this four-step method:

  • Read or listen to the scriptural passage carefully, taking note of a word or phrase that elicits a reaction.
  • Look deeply into the image, selecting a portion that especially captures your attention.
  • Reflect prayerfully on any thoughts, feelings or meaning that arises for you.
  • Act decisively to make a difference.

Our Purpose

The name of this website comes from one of many sayings attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.” This is a place for praying with images, but it doesn’t end there.  Our hope is that prayerful attention to the words and intent of a scriptural passage, experienced in conjunction with a visual image, will lead to concrete action, done in the spirit of the followers of the Jesus Movement. It’s all about reconciliation, healing, restoration of creation to its divinely-intended state. Our hope that this will be for you a source of spiritual sustenance and insight, as well as a reminder of the divine call we all share to bridge the needs of the world with communities of faith.With each one of us as agents building a more compassionate world.


About the Author

Hello, I’m Jon Shematek, a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, currently assigned to the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore,  Ordained nearly thirty years ago, my service spanned seven parishes in a variety of liturgical, pastoral and social ministries. Having tried out blogging for the past year, I created My Soul in Silence Waits, a small book of Visio Divina reflections for Advent 2018. Several years ago, I retired from my career as a physician. My family consists of a wonderful wife and mother of our two amazing adult children, plus four awesome grand children.  I am a photo enthusiast, a bit on the geeky side, and love to travel with my wife, and to spend as much time as possible with the entire family in Maine during the summer.  

Send me a note if you have questions, comments, or would like to contribute a reflection or image.