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Lectio Divina {Practice}

“Through meditation, allow God's Word to be fully digested into your very being. Imagine a cow chewing its cud. While chewing, the cow turns the food over and over in its mouth. In meditation we turn God's Word over and over in our mind. Your desire is that God's Word will touch you at a depth you have not experienced before.”
~ Barbara Peacock
Lectio Divina is Latin for sacred reading. It is the practice of reading through the same passage of scripture (or listening to it read over us) a total of four times. Lectio Divina is a way of immersing ourselves in Scripture in a very personal way. Each time the passage is read, there is a personal invitation extended to us.
  1. The first reading is called lectio (or reading) and the goal is to read slowly. The invitation is to simply listen to it as we intentionally quiet our mind and open the ears of our heart.
  2. The second reading is called medita-tio (or reflection). Here the invitation is to listen for a word or phrase the Holy Spirit illuminates for us; we think about the word or phrase and turn it over in our minds. What might God have to say to us about it? *Feel free to jot down the word or phrase; a full journal entry is not necessary.  We are learning to keep company with God.
  3. The third reading is called ora-tio (or response). The invitation of this reading is to allow our hearts to respond to what God has revealed to us in our reflection. Responses may include thanksgiving, confession, praise, lament, repentance, or a creative thought or idea, etc.
  4. The final reading of Lectio Divina is called contempla-tio (which actually means rest or wordless presence). In this last reading, the invitation is to let go and seek to rest into God. We surrender our own inclinations and expectations. We sink into the Scripture and listen at the deepest level of our being as the Holy Spirit speaks over us and into us.
Barbara Peacock, a treasured spiritual director, author, and teacher, offers some suggestions for coming to the practice of Lectio Divina: “Be still. Quiet yourself. Take some deep breaths as you inhale and exhale. It will help to sit back in your chair, put your hands on your lap, and gently close your eyes. Honor God’s presence in your sacred space.”
However we come, the hope is intimacy and connection with your Creator. The God who knows “everything there is know” about us and “perceives every movement of our hearts and souls” (Ps 139:1-2) will be a faithful guide as we practice this sacred discipline.
Holy Reading: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Innocenzo Gargano, Walter Vitale (Editor)
Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene H. Peterson
Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina by Thelma Hall
Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer by David G. Benner

Formed well to love well