In the last few years there has been a resurgence in the concept of Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) in religious literature. It is a structure of meditative prayer that has four parts: read, meditate, pray, contemplate. It is a way for people to focus on a word, phrase or verse from Scripture and then let Christ speak to them through that Word. Lectio Divina has been likened to “feasting on the Word”: first, the taking of a bite (lectio); then chewing on it (meditatio); savoring its essence (oratio) and, finally, “digesting” it and making it a part of the body (contemplatio).
The practice was first established by St. Benedict for monks in the 6th century, and was even a recommendation to the general public as part of the Vatican II reforms in the Catholic church.
Why this new appreciation for this ritual? I think it has something to do with how busy and cluttered our minds can be in this technological age. People are craving a moment of quiet, a time of pure reflection and holy revelation. In Lectio Divina, the participant is forced to become peaceful, uncluttered with other thoughts and focused on Christ and his Word.
We all need to be open to listening more to what Christ is saying to us, and Lectio Divina is a way for us to do that. It makes it possible for us to let the Word come to us and not put any of our own parameters or preconceived notions about the Word onto it. We are like an open vessel or cupped hands when we practice Lectio Divina, ready simply to receive divine comfort.
Why not try setting aside some time for Lectio Divina in your own life and schedule?
Guidelines for how to practice Lectio Divina are found here:
As the Bible says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body” (Colossians 3:15).
If Lectio Divina is not for you, then simply take time to draw closer to Christ in some specific way this week. It will do a world of difference when you return from a time of quiet with the Lord to the clamor of life.