Entering Scripture – Lectio Divina

“The Psalms acquire, for those who know how to enter into them, a surprising depth, a marvelous and inexhaustible actuality. They are bread, miraculously provided by Christ,to feed those who have followed Him into the wilderness.”
From: Bread in the Wilderness by Thomas Merton

I posted the above quote last week in The Lectio Room as part of our reflections on Psalm 149 and 150 ( http://lectio.discipleswalk.org/issl-reflections-october-31-2021-psalms-1491-5-150-post-3/ )

Merton’s phrase, “… for those who know how to enter them …” took me back to a post from last year, “Approaching Scripture.” My plan was to follow that post with several on “Entering Scripture.” For various reasons it did not happen at that time, so maybe it’s time we got back on that track.

Let’s start by thinking together for a few weeks about “Lectio Divina.” Whether we call it by its Latin designation, “Lectio Divina”, translate it as “Sacred Reading” or call it as some do, “Praying with Scripture,” we are thinking about a way of spending time with Scripture that takes us beyond a surface reading, or reading for information, but to one way of “meditating” with Scripture.

To begin our thinking about Lectio Divina allow me to share a quick overview by quoting from a brochure from Contemplative Outreach, http://www.contemplativeoutreach.ie/wp-content/uploads/lectio_divina.pdf .

Lectio Divina is a reading, reflecting, responding and resting in the word of God that helps one grow in relationship with God.

Listening to the word of God in Scripture (Lectio Divina) is a traditional way of cultivating friendship with Christ. It is a way of listening to the texts of Scripture as if we were in conversation with Christ and He were suggesting the topics of conversation. The daily encounter with Christ and reflection on His word leads beyond mere acquaintanceship to an attitude of friendship, trust, and love. Conversation simplifies and gives way to communing …. “resting in God.”

The brochure then has a brief explanation of the four steps you follow as you engage a passage of Scripture.

Moment One: (Lectio)
Read the Scripture passage for the first time. Listen with the “ear of your heart.” What phrase, sentence or even one word stands out to you? Begin to repeat that phrase, sentence or one word over and over, allowing it to settle deeply in your heart. Simply return to the repetition of the phrase, sentence or one word, savoring it in your heart.

Moment Two: (Meditatio)
Reflect, relish the words. Let them resound in your heart. Let an attitude of quiet receptiveness permeate the prayer time. Be attentive to what speaks to your heart.

Moment Three: (Oratio)
Respond spontaneously as you continue to listen to a phrase, sentence or word. A prayer of praise, thanksgiving or petition may arise. Offer that prayer, and then return to repeating the word in your heart.

Moment Four: (Contemplatio)
Rest in God. Simply “be with” God’s presence as you open yourself to a deeper hearing of the Word of God. If you feel drawn back to the scriptures, follow the lead of the Spirit

What do you think? Does this process make sense to you?

If you are so inclined, try this with a short passage of Scripture.

Next week, we will look at how this is described elsewhere.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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