Thomas McKenzie
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Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

“I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart. If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime."
-- Pope Benedict XVI

During Lent, we give up certain things. We fast, we abstain, we put a stop to activity. However, we also take on spiritual disciplines. One of the most important disciplines a Christian can engage in is Lectio Divina, or “holy reading.” It is a method of praying the scriptures, hearing and responding to God’s Word, which dates back many centuries. I highly recommend this practice, and have taught on it several times.

Here I give an outline for this holy reading. Though this outline is short, and therefore limited, it may help you begin to put this discipline into practice. Following the outline, you will find the Gospel reading appointed for this day. Perhaps a good place to start Lectio Divina in your life would be to put this outline to practice with this scripture?

Notes on Lectio Divina
Scripture-Centered meditative prayer

Preparation:
1. Pick a short passage from the Bible.
2. Find a spot where you can sit straight and be quiet and alone.

Four Steps:

I. Lectio. Reading and Listening to the Word of God.
A. Read the passage slowly a few times, read aloud.
B. Listen carefully to what it says.
C. Select a phrase that jumps out at you.

II. Meditatio: Reflecting on the Word of God.
A. Consider what the phrase means.
B. Read it as addressed to you.
C. If it’s a story, picture yourself in the situation.

III. Oratio: Praying the Word in the Heart
A. Form the phrase into a prayer, making it personal.
B. Ask God to make the truth of the phrase real in your heart and in your life.
C. You may have an emotional experience.

IV. Contemplatio: The Place too Deep for Words.
A. Just as you feel done with your prayer, wait.
B. Sit quietly in the tension, perhaps boredom.
C. You are at the edge of the desert of God.
D. Do not expect anything.
E. Trust that God is working in your heart.
F. Stay as long as you are able.

John 17:1-8
1 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,
2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.
5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
6 'I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you;
8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

lentThomas McKenzie