Editor’s word: This put up was initially revealed on 4/21/2012.
Expensive Dan, are you able to assist me perceive Lectio Divina and whether or not or not I ought to use it to assist me enhance my prayer life? I’m struggling proper now and really feel like I want a change however I don’t know what is going to assist.
Any Christian searching for to deepen their relationship with Christ will little doubt be blessed by this time-tested monastic prayer technique. A lot of you who use The Higher Half to hope will uncover that Lectio Divina is one of many roots of the strategy to prayer that Fr. John Bartunek recommends. Right here’s a quick historical past and information so that you can discover this easy technique:
Lectio Divina – A Transient Historical past
Lectio Divina means “Divine Studying” and refers particularly to an strategy to prayer and scripture studying practiced by monastics because the early Church.
The thought of praying with sacred scripture involves the Church by historic Jewish custom. Christians within the early Church continued this custom and additional developed the apply of prayer and meditation utilizing largely the psalms as a wealthy supply of heartfelt engagement with God. This growth is obvious in early Church Historical past within the forty eighth chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict (A.D. 480-453).
Within the eleventh century, a Carthusian prior named Guigo formalized Lectio Divina, describing the apply in a letter written to a fellow non secular. This letter has develop into generally known as The Ladder of Monks and describes a four-runged ladder to Heaven, every rung being one of many 4 steps in his technique of prayerful scripture studying. These steps are supplied beneath together with a brief definition of every and transient quotes from Guigo’s letter:
Lectio (studying): An attentive, gradual, repetitious recitation of a brief passage of scripture.
“wanting on Holy Scripture with all one’s will and wit”
Meditatio (meditation): An effort to know the passage and apply it to my very own life.
“a studious looking with the thoughts to know what was earlier than hid”
Oratio (prayer): Participating or speaking with God in regards to the passage.
“a religious needing of the guts to get what is nice and keep away from what’s evil”
Contemplatio (contemplation): Permitting oneself to be absorbed within the phrases of God because the Holy Spirit attracts us into His presence by scripture.
“the lifting up of the guts to God tasting considerably of the heavenly sweetness”
Lectio Divina Step by Step
As with every critical try to progress within the religious life, the apply of Lectio Divina would require deliberate persistence. To be deliberate we might want to decide to at the least ten minutes on daily basis. The easiest way to do that is to schedule our prayer instances on the starting of every week earlier than we schedule the rest. Making an attempt to squeeze prayer into our schedules after they’re already full nearly all the time leads to our busyness squeezing prayer out of our schedules.
With respect to the method of Lectio Divina, it might really feel mechanical till we discover a pure rhythm. As nicely, we’ll naturally wrestle with distractions. That is the place persistence is available in. It’s essential to maintain issues so simple as is feasible. There will probably be no Lectio Divina police wanting over our shoulders to make certain that we train perfection in our apply. No want to fret in regards to the particulars. Merely search the Lord within the scriptures. He’s ready for you there and will probably be delighted to guide you right into a extra profound relationship with Him. With that in thoughts, lets speak about methods to put together for our time with Him.
First, we must always prepare a spot to hope that’s restful and devoid of any distractions or issues which may distract us (i.e. computer systems, TV, and so on.). This may occasionally contain lighting candles, burning incense or creating no matter ambiance fosters calm and peace. The presence of icons and different visible aids to meditation might be of nice profit right here as nicely. It’s best if the place chosen for Lectio Divina (or any form of prayer) is a cushty space put aside only for this exercise.
As soon as the environment is correctly ready, we must always then assume a bodily posture that’s conducive to prayer and studying. As we contemplate our posture, we must always accomplish that with the popularity that we’re coming into into the presence of God. Our posture ought to mirror one that might be the identical as if we had been with Christ within the flesh or earlier than him in Eucharistic adoration. Once more, simplicity is essential. We’d like not over-emphasize posture.
We then flip our hearts to God, start to breathe slowly and deeply, specializing in easy attentiveness to the Lord till we’re relaxed and capable of focus our consideration on scripture. If our minds wander, we must always keep away from any frustration or self-condemnation and gently deliver our consideration again to our Lord and the textual content, respiratory out and in in a purposeful and relaxed method. You will need to word that not like in non-Christian types of Japanese prayer which search to empty the thoughts, Christian prayer seeks to fill our minds with an attentiveness to God. This mild however purposeful effort will yield a relentless aiming and re-aiming of our hearts and minds towards Him and His Phrase.
As soon as we’re as calm and peaceable as is feasible, we merely acknowledge that Christ is with us and we pray on this or some related means:
Within the title of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I do know you’re with me. Thanks for permitting me to acknowledge your presence. Thanks for being right here with me now.
Then, we’d provide a prayer to the Holy Spirit like the next:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your trustworthy, and kindle in them the hearth of Your love.
Ship forth your Spirit and so they shall be created and also you shall renew the face of the earth.
O God, by the sunshine of the Holy Spirit you’ve gotten taught the hearts of your trustworthy. In the identical Spirit, assist us to know what’s it really proper and all the time to rejoice in your comfort. We ask this by Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lectio – An attentive gradual repetitious recitation of a brief passage of scripture
It’s all the time advisable to meditate on the scripture from the mass of the day, notably the Gospel passage. Nonetheless, any textual content of scripture will do. The secret’s to not rush. The purpose is to not end any specific portion of scripture however to purposefully delve into the depths of any passage that can raise our hearts to God. Simply earlier than we start studying, we hint the signal of the cross on the scriptures, kiss the cross we traced, after which start to learn very slowly, vocally, and gently, coming to an understanding of the phrases themselves together with the associated concepts and pictures that floor. When a selected passage or phrase strikes us we pause to contemplate it extra absolutely. On the first pause, we’ll then naturally transfer into meditatio. In the event you don’t appear to progress on this means, merely keep at every part till you do. Don’t fear if you happen to don’t progress. The purpose is to not fulfill the tactic, however to honor and search God.
Meditatio – An effort to know the passage and apply it to my very own life
Now we meditate on what we’ve learn, visualizing it and listening for His prompting or His guiding. We search the deeper religious meanings of the phrases as we place ourselves in a gospel scene as one of many members or just hear God talking on to us as we learn the phrases. We don’t pressure or exert excessive effort right here, we merely enable the phrases to penetrate our hearts and minds and comply with the place God leads us by the textual content. Generally it’s useful to slowly repeat the passage or phrase time and again till the captivation and dialog with God on the passage subsides. It will also be useful to learn every phrase and to briefly pause earlier than we learn the following. As we do that, we enable for silence and cautious listening. We break the conventional frantic tempo and cycle of life to be attentive to the Beloved. As we start to reply or converse with God about our encounter with Him, we then transfer into oratio.
Oratio – Participating or speaking with God in regards to the passage
As we’re drawn into the passage we start to converse with God about what we’re studying. Oratio is solely the response of the guts to God. It is crucial right here to do not forget that God has revealed Himself as an individual. After we speak with Him, it’s typically useful name this to thoughts. Our dialog needs to be as pure as with somebody whom we deeply love and need to know. In no matter method we’re led, we apologize, we thank Him, we reward Him, we ask Him to for the grace to be modified by what we’ve learn. We ask Him to assist us extra absolutely understand what He needs us to be and to assist us apply His ethical, religious, or sensible steering to our lives. As we have interaction with Him, He could select to name us deeper, to develop into misplaced on this heavenly dialogue with Him. For many who are usually very talkative in life and prayer, it could be essential right here to decelerate our personal phrases and to be attentive to Him moderately than to what we need to say. We’ll ultimately discover ourselves transferring into contemplatio.
Contemplatio – Permitting oneself to develop into absorbed within the phrases of God and the presence of God as he calls us into deeper prayer
Right here God satisfies our final thirst and desires because the Holy Spirit prays with us, in us, and thru us. Generally we acknowledge this work in our hearts; typically it’s merely a matter of religion that He’s with us and imparting His life-changing grace to us. All the time we will know that He’s altering us as a result of he has promised that the “phrase of God by no means returns void” and that as St. Paul says, “religion comes from listening to the phrase of God.” It is crucial right here to notice that this part of prayer isn’t all the time sensual. In truth, for many who are extra superior within the inside life, it might be a time of dryness and a darkish silence. Regardless, we all know by religion that he’s true to His phrase. If we search Him, we’ll discover Him, even when He’s present in methods which can be tough, or very completely different than we had anticipated.
To sum up Guigo’s ideas on the 4 parts; studying seeks, meditation finds, prayer asks, and contemplation tastes.
Artwork: Element of Saint Dominic from Cristo Deriso (Mocking of Christ), Sangelico (Fra Angelico), from circa 1440 and circa 1441, PD-US creator’s life plus 100 years or much less, Wikimedia Commons. Characteristic picture artwork: Modified element of Saint Dominic from Cristo Deriso (Mocking of Christ), Sangelico (Fra Angelico), from circa 1440 and circa 1441, PD-US creator’s life plus 100 years or much less, Wikimedia Commons.