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,
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 =
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 "