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About Lectio Divina
Lectio divina, first used in the fourth and fifth centuries, is a highly effective method of deeply reading and praying with scripture. The two Latin words mean “sacred reading.” The Benedictine model suggests four activities: lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. These Latin terms mean: read, meditate, pray, and contemplate.
Preparation for Lectio Divina
Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Choose a passage of scripture.
Do something to quiet the body before entering into this kind of interior reflection. Center yourself with a relaxation breathing exercise, singing bowl, meditation, or other practice.
Let tensions and distractions go and enjoy the pleasant experience ahead of you.
Following the experience, you may wish to journal your thoughts and revelations.
Adapted from Discover Your Spiritual Type: A guide to Individual & Congregational Growth by Corinne Ware
A Short Guide to Lectio Divina
Select a scripture passage.
Lectio: Read the passage carefully, getting the sequence and detail without thinking too much about the meaning. Imagine the time of day, season of the year, smells of the land, sounds of the countryside, the human touches – all the elements that would make this scene real to you. Transport yourself into the setting using your imagination.
Meditatio: Read the scripture again. Why is there a record of this particular event or saying? What is the significance of this passage in the larger scheme of things? What does this piece mean? How does that affect an understanding of God? Of conduct? Do you see yourself in any of the characters in the passage?
Oratio: Allow your feelings to surface as you read the passage again. Do you feel happy, sad, angry, or guilty? Silently or verbally talk this through with God: tell God what you feel about what you have read. Comment in your prayer on anything in the passage to which you respond.
Contemplatio: Sit quietly, breathe deeply and regularly, and let your mind go blank. As you quiet your inner self, simply listen in your hear. If you receive some impression or thought, quietly notice it: then focus your attention on remaining open. If you have no thoughts or impressions, return your mind to the scripture passage. After a while, open your eyes, rested and refreshed, expressing gratitude for your experience.
From Discover Your Spiritual Type: A guide to Individual & Congregational Growth by Corinne Ware, The Alban Institute, Inc. Copyright 1995
The Alban Institute grants permission for use.