February 16, 2009

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a way to approach scripture that has proved fruitful to the historical church. It means ‘divine reading’ and started in the Benedictine order but is now widely practiced in the church. It’s a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study, ponder, listen and finally, pray from God’s Word.

The Four Moments
Lectio Divina has been likened to “Feasting on the Word”. The four parts are first taking a
bite (Lectio), then chewing on it (Meditatio). Next is the opportunity to savor the essence of it (Oratio). Finally, the Word is digested and made a part of the body (Contemplatio).

1. Lectio – read

This first moment consists in reading the scriptural passage slowly and attentively. Look for words or phrases in the passage that grab your attention.

2. Meditatio – contemplate, read again
Spend some time contemplating the passage and the words or phrases that stood out upon first reading. Try ‘praying the passage’, opening your mind to God’s understanding of this passage. Read the passage again.

3. Oratio – share
Share with each other the words that you focused on and perhaps the result of your
meditation on them.

4. Contemplatio – read
Read the passage a final time, try to ‘savor’ the words and thoughts shared earlier.

If you want to give a little more background on Lectio, there’s a useful list of resources at www.osb.org

[Photo by jewelie1981 @ Flickr]