This week’s spiritual practice to share is Lectio Divina. It can be translated as “divine reading” or “holy reading.” It began as a spiritual practice in Benedictine monasteries and was first established in the 6th Century by Benedict of Nursia. The practice developed over time to have four separate steps that include: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.
You take a scripture passage and read it four times through. With each reading, one can go deeper and deeper in prayer and contemplation as one experiences how the text may be speaking on a more personal level. To me, it’s always felt very UCC with an emphasis on “God is still speaking!” Here’s a summary of the steps as they were explained when I was on retreat at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, MA (a Benedictine Monastery):
1.) Lectio (Reading the Scripture)
Quiet yourself, read the scripture, and listen to God’s Word in your heart.
2.) Meditatio (Meditate on the Scripture)
Read the scripture again, let it speak to you, and see if any word or phrase stands out.
3.) Oratio (Pray with the Scripture)
Read the scripture a third time, let your heart speak to God about the passage and how it may be touching your life today, and remember that God loves you and invites you to have a close relationship.
4.) Contemplatio (Rest with the Scripture)
Read the scripture once more, let go of your thoughts and simply rest in God with whatever you discovered up until now. Maybe a word or phrase will stand out, but use that to bring you back to resting in God. You could move into Centering Prayer (allow about 20 minutes) and you may want to journal after this time of prayer.
One of my favorite passages to use when leading folks through Lectio Divina, especially for the first time is Mark 4:35-41 (Jesus stops a storm). It’s helpful to begin with texts you are more familiar with to practice this spiritual practice. Though you can use whatever passage you may be wanting to explore in time. The purpose of “holy reading” is to absorb God’s word in our heads and our hearts. Happy reading!
Thursday Thoughts 7/15/21