“THE ANCIENT BENEDICTINE PRACTICE OF lectio divina/ (literally, “spiritual reading”) can breath new life into our reading of scripture. In the context of this practice the Bible is not fixed set of words and images but the living Word of God, which enters our prayer as something dynamic and alive. In her class book on the spiritual disciplines, Marjorie Thompson’s simple translation of thee Latin words is helpful.
There are four basic phrases in the classic practice of spiritual reading, termed in Latin lectio /, meditatio/, oratio /, and contemplatio/. For a basic English equivalent, add the letter n/ to each. The ordering of these four phrases represents a general and often neural sequence of progression, not to be understood rigidly. In practice we can experience great fluidity between them, weaving back and forth as the Sprit moves us.
Several years ago, The Upper Room produced reminder cards that simplified the method:
1. READ a biblical passage, savoring key words.
2. REFLECT on what God may be saying to you as you read the passage again.
3. RESPOND by offering your reflection to God in prayer.
4. REST in God’s presence, being open to God’s word for you.
This time tested way of reading the Bible encourages us to move toward transformation, rather than just information, in our encounter with holy scripture. Rather than trying to capture scripture, this method allows scripture to capture us.
- Linda Douty
Praying in the Messiness of Life
From pages 47 of Praying in the Messiness of Life: 7 ways to renew your relationship with God. Copyright © 201 by Linda Douty. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Give lectio divina a try. Share your thoughts.
13:12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.”
Luke 13:12, NRSV
This Week: pray for those afraid of death. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.
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This week we remember:
Victoria Rasoamanarivo (August 21).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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