Lectio Divina

The ancient practice of Lectio Divina literally means "divine reading" and is a method of prayer, study, and meditation fundamental to Benedictine life since the 6th century. Traditionally practiced individually and privately, the Lectio Divina approaches the study and prayer of scripture as something to be calmly and carefully absorbed and understood. The ultimate goal to this spiritual technique is to spend some time, physically and mentally, with God through his word.

 

The Lectio Divina is divided into different phases: reading/listening, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. The rhythm of the Lectio Divina is a gentle alternation between action and reception: reading the words and thereby entering a conversation with God. By focusing on a selected scripture, one waits and listens for God's voice. The individual practicing Lectio Divina is both listening to and speaking with God, united with Him via his words.

 

Though followers of St. Benedict have faithfully practiced Lectio Divina since the 6th century, it has experienced a revival in the 20th and 21st centuries. Pope Paul VI with his document Dei Verbum and the establishment of the Second Vatican Council expressed the importance of this ancient practice in the 20th century. Even more recently Pope Benedict XVI restated the significance of the Lectio Divina in 2005, explaining that "Lectio divina should therefore be increasingly encouraged [....] It should never be forgotten that the Word of God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path".

 

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