In our fast-paced, cyber-connected world, we’ve grown accustomed to speed reading through mountains of information each day. The competition for our short attention span is fierce. We are no long satisfied with the written word. We need graphics and pictures and links to YouTube videos to keep us interested.
Lectio divina is a counter-cultural prayer form for our over-stimulated minds. The term means holy or sacred reading. Its roots are in Benedictine spirituality. The method is simple and flexible. You begin with the Scriptures, or any other spiritual reading. As you read (Lectio), you stop and focus on a sentence, phrase, word or image that pops out for you. Then you stop and meditate. (Meditatio)What does this word or phrase mean to me? What is God trying to say to me – today, in this place and time? What am I being called to do, to bring this Word of God alive in my actions this day? This leads to a moment of prayer, a dialogue with God. (Oratio) Finally, we take a moment to silently rest in the presence of God. (Contemplatio)
As Catholics, we are used to hearing the Word of God proclaimed in our liturgy and explained or ‘opened up’ in the homily by the pastor. Some homilies are inspiring. Some homilies are mind-numbing, and this is a shame. We cannot and must not depend on one person to give us a week`s worth of scriptural reflection on a Sunday morning.
Lectio divina nudges us all to slow down, be still and pray with Sacred Scripture. It opens up a space in our mind and heart for a personal dialogue with God.