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Lectio Divina - Diligent Sacred Reading
"The Catholic Church urges all the Christian faithful to learn by frequent reading of the Divine Scriptures the 'excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ' (Phil. 3:8). 'For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ'. Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself" (Dei Verbum #25).
"The Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance." (Dt 30:14)
- in the mouth: by the READINGWe read (LECTIO)
- in the heart: by MEDITATION and PRAYERunder the eyes of God(MEDITATIO)
until the heart is touched (ORATIO)
- in practice: through CONTEMPLATIONand leaps to flame (CONTEMPLATIO)
Step 1. Reading (Lectio)
Step 2. Reflection (Meditatio)
Step 3. Prayer of the heart (Oratio)
Step 4. Resting in God (Contemplatio)
= a believing a prayerful reading of the Word of God
= regular Bible reading, the systematic access to sacred Scripture as a spiritual source for
Christian life and an impulse for renewal. A.D. Guido, a Carthusian monk wrote: "When on
one day after my phisical labour, I reflected upon the spiritual activity of man, I suddenly
had the idea of the ladder with the four spiritual steps: READING, MEDITATION, PRAYER
and CONTEMPLATION. This is the ladder upon which the monks may ascend into heaven
from earth. Even though the ladder only consists of a few steps, they are unusually high, so
that though the lower part stands on the earth, its upper part reaches the clouds and
penetrates the secrets of heaven.
The READING is a continuous and eager research of Holy Scripture.
MEDITATION is a careful activity of the intellect who, with the help of its own insight, searches for the knowledge of the hidden truth.
PRAYER is the motion ot the heart towards God to ask him to remove evil and grant goodness.
CONTEMPLATION is the elevation of the spirit above oneself to savour the joys of eternal happiness hovering in God.
ATTITUDES FOR LECTIO DIVINA
1. Start with the reality in which we live
2. Read within the context of the faith that we profess
3. Read with a deep respect for the Word we are receiving
PRINCIPLES FOR CHRISTIAN READING OF THE BIBLE
1. The Bible forms one large unit. The principle of the unity of Scripture prohibits the separating of
parts, tearing them out of their context, or proposing them as isolated and absolute statements.
2. When we as Christians read the Bible, we must not forget life. We must discover in the Bible
what we are experiencing in the moment.
= Reading again and again until one becomes familiar with what has been written there.
= Making the Word one's own. Respecting it and placing it into context.
The aim is to bring out the meaning of the text itself, independent of our own thinking.
A good Bible commentary can help!
The goal is to drill a hole in the wall between the text of yesterday and the today of our lives, in order to open up a dialogue with God.
The objective of the reading is to read and study the text until it becomes a mirror which reflects some of our own life experiences.
= To learn what has been read, to repeat it orally... until it enters from the mouth and from the head
to the heart and enters into the bloodstream of one's own life.
= To place the text into the horizon of our lives. Faith tells us that the text must have a message for
us today. The text must have a permanent value, a value leading to conversion.
It is to give to God an answer in prayer and ask that He might help us to realise in our own lives what His Word demands from us.
It is to savour the Word and see the world in a new way and light. Contemplation is what remains in the eyes and in the heart once the prayer is ended.