Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

Reading seeks for sweetness of a blessed life, meditation perceives it, prayer asks for it, contemplation tastes it.
- Guigo II (12th century Carthusian monk)







What is Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina (divine reading) is an ancient practice of sacred reading and reflection, a form of eschatological gnosis. Lectio (pronounced lexeo), dates back to the early church was widely adopted by different monastic orders. This form of prayer was originally inherited from ancient Judaism and has been the foundation of prayer throughout history. It refers to a specific kind of sacred reading and reflections that is intended to facilitate a state of union with God through an ever-deepening engagement with a sacred text.

Why is Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina is a call to love. We cannot give witness to heaven if we have not been there. St. Augustine put it this way, "the cultivation of Scripture is required lest any of us become an empty preacher of God outwardly and not a listener inwardly." St. Ambrose said, "when we pray we speak to God; but when we listen to him speak we hear the divine sayings." In Lectio we become immersed in a life of prayer. By living a prayerful contemplative life, our resemblance to Christ is gradually restored and we awaken to the truth of our divine nature, love.

How do I practice Lectio Divina?

The traditional monastic form of Lectio Divina is a four-step process that involves vocal reading, reflection, prayer and contemplation. After each reading we take time to pause for a few to several minutes. It includes of series of slow, contemplative readings of a sacred text, most often from the Scriptures. It can be practiced either in solitude or in community. 1) "Lectio" - reading/listening to the word of God. 2) "Meditatio" - meditating or reflecting on the words. 3) "Oratio" - offering a prayer response to the meditated word. Our prayer becomes affective prayer wherein our emotions and will responds to God. 4) "Contemplatio" - contemplation, is the fourth and final period. Here we quietly abide and rest in the presence of God. Our prayer to God now becomes God's prayer in us. This is the realm of union of soul and spirit wherein we become united with and transformed into the image and likeness of God. In this deep silence of the heart, we quietly rest in the presence of God.

A treasury of prayer.

Lectio Divina is a beautiful way to enter into any day and particularly the Sabbath. It is one of the sacred treasures of the Christian monastic tradition. The aim of the monk is to pray without ceasing. Likewise, as contemplatives, we are also called to a life of prayer. When our life becomes like our prayer, then our prayer becomes our life. Integrating these forms of prayer into our daily life enables us to discover the underlying spiritual rhythm that governs all of creation. Lectio Divina awakens us to love. This most precious gift, which is a living relationship with God, invites the Holy Spirit to enter into and transform our deepest parts. Through the sacramental grace of this prayer our hearts become more and more purified. Our love for God and for each other continues to grow, and grow and therein the two great commandments are fulfilled.

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