Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina ( holy reading )

     This is an ancient method of praying the scriptures that was at one time practiced by all Christians.  This is a method of slow, contemplative prayer of the Scriptures which enables the Bible, the Word of God, to become a means of union with God, and helps us to discover in our daily life an underlying spiritual rhythm.  When doing this method, select a time and place that is peaceful and in which you may be alert and attentive. Prepare yourself in whatever way is beneficial for you. Give yourself enough time to practice the method well, and then listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you through Scripture.

1. Slowly begin reading the passage, reading it again and again until a word or phrase strikes you, grabs you, invites you or attracts you in some fashion. (Lectio = reading) LECTIO

2. Revisit and repeat the word or phrase to yourself. Enter into its meaning . Slowly attentively repeat it again and again, ruminating over it. (Ruminario = rumination, chewing) RUMINARIO

3. Reflect on, meditate on, what the word or phrase offers you, or on its meaning in your life. (Meditario = meditation) MEDITARIO

4. Rest silently with God, contemplating God, waiting for what God offers, simply open to God without actively attempting to communicate anything to God. (Contemplario = contemplation) CONTEMPLARIO

5. Actively express to God the prayers that rise out of your experience with the passage. (Oratio = oration, spoken prayer) ORATIO

The order of these steps, especially steps 3,4, and 5, can alternate or even be skipped depending upon your experience. Play with them and become familiar enough with them that they come easily. Selecting a short passage, setting a reasonable pace and keeping in mind the idea of resting in God seem to be key to growing with this method. This is reading the scriptures for formation rather than information, and it takes practice.

A southern pastor is quoted as describing this type of prayer in this way, " I read myself full. I think myself clear. I pray myself hot. I let myself cool "



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