Lectio Divina is a Latin term that means "divine reading" and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. It is an ancient method of reflective and prayerful reading of the Bible that has been revived in recent years and is practiced not only by monks but given to the whole Church through the document of Pope Benedict XVI, "Verbum Domini" (2010).
In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk named Guigo described the stages that he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups, but Guigo’s description remains fundamental. It consists of four essential steps:
1) Lectio (reading): In this first stage, a short passage of the Bible is read. Any text can be used, but if you are doing the practice daily then the Gospel or the reading of the day from our Catholic liturgical calendars should be used. If you observe this practice just once a week, then the Gospel of the coming Sunday may be read.
2) Meditatio (meditation): In this second stage, you ruminate on a word or phrase or a whole sentence from the text you have heard or read, asking yourself questions. What does it means for my life? What does God want to tell me through this text? Which area of my life does it address?
3) Oratio (prayer): In this step of Lectio Divina, you address God using words from the Scriptures upon which you have meditated. It could be a prayer of thanksgiving, petition, etc., inspired by the Word and your meditation.
4) Contemplatio (contemplation): The final step of Lectio Divina is contemplation, or rest, during which you let go not only of your ideas, plans and meditations but also of your holy words and thoughts. You simply rest in the Word of God. You listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still, small voice. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within.
The regular practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries. In our own day, it is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Divine Word Missionaries have embraced it and practiced it not only on occasions of various assemblies and meetings but on a regular basis. The Chicago Province Bible Team has established a Facebook page where on a weekly basis the Gospel of Sunday is placed for our reading and meditation. We are invited to write the fruits of our meditation or prayer on the Gospel as comments to each post.
We invite you to go to the SVD Bible Forum Facebook page to see how it works.