Lectio Divina is a prayer method that uses a slow reading of the Scriptures to reflect and meditate on the Word of God. There are four steps to the Divine Reading: the first one, Lectio, aims at letting yourself be open to the Word of God by reading a Bible passage. This is the best way to prepare for the next step: Meditatio. Meditatio, as the word would have it, is a meditation process helping you reflect on the text and prepare for the next two steps: Oratio (prayer) and Contemplatio (contemplation). Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI both encouraged Christians to use this method to grow closer to God. The practice of Lectio Divina does not require any skill.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16).
After getting a taste of the Divine Word during the Lectio phase, comes the time to “ingest” it, with all of its nutrients. The Word of God is good, meaning that it is beautiful and true. But it is also good in the sense that it is “living” and “active”, it brings salvation. It is the bread of life. As Christians, we are guided and enlightened by it in our every decision, our every action.
Meditatio, the second step of Lectio Divina, consists in understanding what the text means to us today, in our daily lives as Christians of the XXI century.
The first step Lectio (Reading) consists of reading a verse or passage from the Bible multiple times: during meditatio, it is possible to use verses or other texts from the Bible. It is an interesting idea if certain parts of the chosen text for the Lectio step are inspiring, or make you think of other Bible passages. It is also important to understand the context behind the scriptures when reading them, to avoid interpreting it badly. Reading from a few notes can be helpful, so is planning and reading a few verses before the text to situate and understand it better.
Once you understand the text, comes the time to ask yourself two questions:
‘What am I learning from this text?’ What does the text tell you about God, and the relationship between Him and mankind? Between Him and you? You can interpret the text, ex.: ‘the words and expressions, the tone of this text make God appear as a creator, a savior here…’
‘How does this text apply in my everyday life?’ What good news does this text bring to Christians, to mankind, and me today?
After having reflected on these two questions, take a time of silence to let this moment fill your thoughts and your heart. Now, you can move on to the next step: Oratio.
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