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Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina, or "divine reading," is a method of prayer and scripture reading intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's Word. It is a practice that developed over time within the Christian monastic tradition.

The roots of Lectio Divina go back to Origen in the 3rd century, who advocated an approach to the Scriptures that is more than merely literal. However, it was St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547 AD), the founder of the Benedictine order, who made it a regular practice in monastic life. He incorporated it into the Rule of St. Benedict as a central part of the monastic day. Monks were required to spend specific times in communal and private reading of the Scriptures, particularly the Psalms.
 

Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of listening deeply to the voice of God speaking through sacred texts. Lectio cultivates in us the ability to be fully present to the holy call that emerges from words. Lectio Divina is not only a means of discovering something about God but also helps us understand our hidden selves.

 

  1. Read - Lectio

  2. Meditate - Meditatio

  3. Pray - Oratio

  4. Contemplate - Contemplatio

The Process of Lectio Divina on 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - "Love is patient and kind."

  1. Read

 

  • The first movement of lectio divina in the traditional language is called lectio, which means "reading."

  • For example, I could read 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - "Love is patient and kind."

  2. Meditate

 

  • The second movement is traditionally called meditatio in Latin, or meditation. Like Mindfulness in the Buddhist tradition, Christian meditation develops awareness, attentiveness, and presence.

  • Continuing the example,  I meditate on "Love is patient and kind." I could conclude that this is how I should love my neighbor, and I could mediate more on how this can be applied.

  3. Pray

 

  • Traditionally called oratio in Latin, the third movement means "speech" or "address" and is thus a form of prayer. Oratio refers to the kind of prayer that comes spontaneously from our hearts when we allow them to be touched by the presence of God in the text.

  • Next, I pray to God to give me strength and wisdom so I might love my neighbor by being patient and kind.

  4. Contemplate

 

  • The fourth movement of lectio is called contemplatio, Latin for "contemplation." Contemplatio is the culmination of the previous three movements, and in time, we enter more deeply into a state of being one with God. In contemplation, we surrender ourselves into the presence of God, who is the source of all.

  • Lastly, I begin by practicing "Centering Prayer," and ultimately, I move into contemplation on "love."

How to Pray Powerfully

Biblical Contemplation

Solving Problems Through Prayer

Traditional Prayers

Personal Prayers

Ignatian Contemplation

The Anglican Rosary

Obstacles to Prayer

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