Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lectio Divina - 1/2

What is the Lectio Divina?

Lectio divina or divine reading is a dynamic, life-oriented approach to reading Holy Scriptures encouraged by both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. In our Archdiocese, Archbishop Murphy Pakiam is a strong advocate of promoting the practice of lectio divina among laity.

This year, our parish has chosen as our New Image of the Parish (NIP) theme, “The Bible, A Guide for our Steps, A Light for the World.” As a focus, we want to make the Bible, the Word of God the centre of our lives, and the basis of mission: building Community and Unity, Discipleship, Prayer, Service, and Witnessing.

We have chosen Lectio Divina as the main method for promoting the reading and praying of the Bible. Lectio Divina is a blessing for the entire Church as it opens up the rich truths of Scripture for every Christian. Through it believers are invited to read, understand and deepen their appreciation of the Scriptures and to seek guidance for their lives in the teaching of Jesus.

Our real goal is to meet our Lord as we read his Word and allow him to transform our lives to be more like him through the work of the Holy Spirit.

How do we do Lectio Divina?


1. Reading the Scripture passage humbly and prayerfully. Do not rush.
2. So begin with a prayer and ask the Holy Spirit’s assistance
3. Read the passage slowly and carefully.
4. Avoid looking at the Lectio comments at this stage.
5. Have a notebook and pencil ready. Underline, or make a note of, any words or phrases that stand out to you. Write down any questions that occur to you.
6. Read the passage several times and read it aloud. Give yourself time to understand and appreciate what is being said.
7. Now read the Lectio comments and reflect on the ways they are similar or different to your first thoughts.

1. We must approach Scripture in faith expecting God to speak to us.
2. Here are some suggested approaches you may find helpful.
• Use your imagination. Picture the passage; put yourself into the scene and become part of the story. See things through the eyes of the other characters, listen to what they say, watch their reactions, imagine how they feel. Keep coming back to Jesus. Get to know him, his words, his actions, the way he responds – everything about him.
• Ask questions. Use your own questions and the questions given to think more deeply about the passage and what God wants to say to you. Ask Jesus why he did and said what he did. Try to understand his mind. Allow time to be quiet, to listen and hear his answer.
• Let the Word be a mirror for you. As we read the Bible it shows us more of what the Christian life looks like and where ours needs to change. We see how God’s Word applies to our daily life, as an individual, and as part of our community and society. We will find promises and encouragement, challenges and demands.
• Take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your concerns, memories, and ideas. Do not be afraid of distractions.

1. Using the words of the responsorial psalm can help us but we can also use our own words to have a conversation with a very special friend.
2. We can bring what is happening in our own life and in our community before God.
3. We speak and listen, listen and reflect – it is a conversation with God.
4. Only if necessary, use the texts that is suggested in this guide.

1. We now move from active reflection which uses words and thoughts to a time of silent contemplation. It is like to persons in love who move from discussion to just silently appreciating each other’s company.
2. Imagine yourself falling into God’s embrace.
3. Few words are necessary here. Let go of words and images, or just stay with one word or one image.
4. Contemplation gives us the opportunity for an intimate time of communion with God. Be still before God and invite him in.
5. Enjoy time in his presence. Just be with him and let him love you. Let him refresh your soul.

1. Prayer ultimately leads to action.
2. We will now ask the Holy Spirit to direct us in living out our prayer experience in our own personal life or in the community.

After you have finished your time of reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation you may want to jot down in a notebook any experiences or thoughts that particularly impressed you. You may find it helpful to look back at these later.

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