A Guide to Lectio Divina
Lectio is a listening to the Word, a taking-in, gathering the Word into our depths. Read the material selected, at least once aloud, if at all possible. Then slowly re-read it until you are “sopped” or “taken up” by some particular group of words. Repeat the words; savor them until they become a part of you. Then read on to the next words until again you are called to stop, reflect, and let the words be written on your heart.
God speaks; we listen. We read the Word, or we listen to it being read to us, or recall some previously memorized Scripture. As we read the material for meditation and prayer the words are read aloud or sub-vocally so as to have a dual imprint on the brain.
Listen, hearken, assimilate, “bite into,” accept, reflect, or absorb, are the words that are often used to speak about this step.
Meditatio is allowing the Word to work within, reflecting on the material we took into the depths of our being. We may repeat it, mull it over, or memorize it, so later we can say it from heart. Prayer reading…reading slowly…over and over again to see and feel…to savor the beauty in the message…letting the words draw us to a meaning behind them, become a part of our past, the now, and available for the future. A new bud or insight, a new direction…perhaps a new “aha moment,” though often nothing is apparent at the time. Just being there and perhaps allowing ourselves to be affirmed.
Chewing and ruminating are often words used for description.
Oratio, when one says “yes” and responds in prayer. A touching of God…God touching us…unspoken ways. Prayer of adoration, of repentance, of petition, or of thanksgiving, comes with spontaneity…our speaking to and experiencing Word.
Contemplatio, communion, ‘being with’ in silence. The whole of the encounter is to draw us to completion, to wholeness. Contemplatio may come so quietly its presence is not acknowledged at first. For some people it might be like allowing peace to ebb and flow, gradually coming closer until its waters engulf you.
As we deepen our knowledge of our true selves through these prayer experiences we are called to accept and affirm the transforming changes offered at this time of communion with God.