Scriptural Prayer

Lectio Divina

Jesus, You feed us with your own Body and Blood at the Eucharist. But you also feed us with your Word. May we learn how to listen! How to open our hearts to receive your Divine Dew!

At the Synod of Bishops held at the Vatican in October, 2008, one of the recommendations made over and over again by the Bishops was the practice of Lectio Divina. It is an ancient way of reading the Bible that was practiced by the Jews, and then by the early Christian Church. The Monasteries have carried on the tradition to the present day with great fruitfulness. What is Lectio Divina, and how can we practice it in our busy lives?

It is a way of seeking Christ, a way of praying with the Word of God found in Scripture. St. Gregory the Great said that the objective of Lectio is “to know the heart of God through the word of God.” It is a simple way of reading the Bible that becomes a prayer, where “Jesus takes hold of me, looks at me and I at Him, an exchange of gazes.” It is not a Bible course but rather, an encounter with Jesus in Sacred Scripture. It is a practice that can bring a new spiritual springtime into our lives.

St. John of the Cross put it in a nutshell for us: “Seek in reading and you will find in meditation, knock in prayer and it will be opened to you in contemplation” (Maxims #79).

A method for this practice:

  1. We decide on a certain time, a time to calm down, to relax. We need silence to hear the Word speak to our heart.
  2. We next ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts…so that they will receive the saving Dew of God’s Word that will water the dryness our hearts as we encounter the trials of life. The Lord promises a new heart for all who ask.
  3. We then read, slowly and prayerfully, any passage of the Bible or the daily readings of Mass. We read again so that our reading becomes a listening, and so that our listening will open the ears of our hearts.
  4. We then reflect on the passage, to savour what has struck us, to see what the Lord may be asking of us today, on our situation, what word of consolation He has just for us.
  5. Now we speak to God. We respond to His calls, His inspirations, as friend to a Friend, a child to a most Loving Father, in wonder and self-forgetfulness. After we listen, the task left to us is to let our faith bear the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, good will…” Thus we will come to experience the great joy of God’s Merciful Love.

The Word of God in The Scriptures are the letters of God the Father to us; they are love letters to His Beloved Children. Like the disciples of Emmaus, our hearts will be enflamed by Jesus as He explains the Scriptures to us through His Holy Spirit.

Opening Prayer: Holy Spirit. Come into every part of my being and make me a worthy temple for Jesus Christ, to the glory of the Father. Please come to meet me where I am today. Please nourish me with your Divine Food today. Amen.