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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

October 22 - Growing in Faith: Lectio Divina and Contemplative Prayer

Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Last week we considered centering prayer as one method that prepares the soul for the reception of the gift of contemplative prayer. Another proven method of prayer is lectio divina. Lectio divina are two Latin words that mean divine or sacred reading.

Most people will use the Sacred Scriptures for lectio divina. The method consists of simply taking up the Word of God and reading it slowly and cherishing its meaning and application for our daily lives. Lectio divina serves as a method to prepare the soul to receive the gift of contemplative prayer because it allows us to focus our attention on the Word of God. Centering prayer uses a sacred word as an expression or focal point of our intention, whereas lectio divina provides a text that helps us to focus our attention.

In reality, lectio divina works well with centering prayer. When we are tired and afflicted with problems, lectio divina can launch us into centering prayer, and when necessary, we can go back and forth from lectio divina to centering prayer.

I would argue that the goal should be to get to the point where we use only centering prayer as our launching pad into the amazing inner world of contemplative prayer. But, even if we are profoundly spiritual people with a habitual life of prayer, there will be moments when lectio divina will be necessary, even if it is for a short period of time during our daily time set aside for prayer. Tiredness, dryness and distractions are a part of anyone's spiritual life. We are human.

The Bible is the preferred source for lectio divina, but we can also use the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the saints, and wonderful works such as The Imitation of Christ, My Daily Bread and In Conversation with God. The Liturgy of the Hours can be prayed slowly, pausing when one is moved by the Holy Spirit to do so. Rather than simply reading the Office of Readings, it can be used as our material for lectio divina.

So, how do we do lectio divina? Take the Scriptures from the liturgy of the day or focus on a favorite part of the Bible.
Read a word or few lines and then stop reading. Close your eyes. Don't do any thinking. Get out of the head and go into the heart. Just be in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Remain in the silence or go back from the text to the silence. Lectio divina is like soaking in a warm bath.

When the gift of contemplative prayer does arrive, you will know it. Contemplative prayer is an awesome experience.
 
 

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