What is Lectio Divina?
Lectio Divina is a term used to describe a prayerful meditative reading of
the Scriptures according to a set pattern. It is a form of prayer that has been valued for many centuries, particularly in monasteries.
According to Bishop David Walker of
Bay diocese: 'Lectio Divina, is
the meditative reading of a text of God's Word,
the Scriptures, alone or with others, which leads to prayer, transformation of life, and, through that transformed life,
the sharing with others of
the mystery of God entrusted to us.'
The form of Lectio Divina promoted in
Bay diocese follows
the practice of Abbot Guigo II of
the Carthusan Order who lived in
the 12th century.
It goes like this:
Lord Jesus, you who are
the Son of
the Living God, teach me to listen to what You tell me in
the Holy Scriptures, and to discover Your face
there. (Guigo II)
the chosen passage of Scripture and get familiar with it, noting things like context, characters, key words. Sit in silence with it for a little while.
the chosen passage of Scripture again, but this time asking questions of
the text. What does
the text tell me about
the God who speaks? What does it tell me about responding to that God? What does
the text teach me about my faith life? Sit in silence with those thoughts for a little while.
the chosen passage of Scripture once more, and speak to God in your heart about it. Talk to Him about what you need to be able to live according to
the truths within
Time to let God act
What happens here, only God can give. If something happens, go with
the flow of it.
the Scripture passage and choose a word, phrase or sentence that was meaningful to you, and
then bring it to mind frequently throughout
the rest of
the day. In this way you will be tilling
the soil of your heart with
the Gospel plough.
What is Lectio Divina Art?
The more tradition forms of Lectio Divina focus on a word, phrase or sentence from
the text of Scripture that speaks to
the heart. The form that we have called Lectio Divina Art focuses on
the mental images that
the reading of Holy Scripture brings forth.
It goes like this:
After an opening prayer,
the selected passage of Scripture is read a first time. In silence we sit and let all
the mental images wash over us. The passage of Scripture is read a second time, and this time some of those images are stronger than others, and convey greater amounts of God's light. We sit in silence again until
the third reading of
the Scripture passage. At this time, a mental image is clear enough to draw. As we begin to draw, that usually nebulous image becomes more concrete,
Word becomes flesh, and
the process of drawing and colouring leads to deeper levels of meditation on
the Word of God.
When each person has finished drawing, we share together
the images that have been drawn and
the insights given to us. During
the days and weeks that follow, it is amazing how often our minds and hearts recall
the memory of
these drawn images.
For those who find
the traditional forms of Lectio Divina rather difficult and too cerebral, this form of Lectio Divina Art can be very useful.