Sorry I'm so late to this thread, but we did this a couple of times during RCIA this past year. It wasn't discussed the first time I went through RCIA. I loved it! I could really get into the 'listening' phase. Ramona has given some excellent information. Leslie
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"The phrase lectio divina (pronounced "Lec-tsee-oh Di-vee-nah"), difficult to translated adequately, is the Latin for “sacred reading” and represents a method of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to provide special spiritual insights. The principles of lectio divina were expressed around the year A.D. 220 and practiced by Catholic monks, especially the monastic rules of Sts. Pachomius, Augustine, Basil, and Benedict.
The practice of lectio divina is currently very popular among Catholics and gnostics, and is gaining acceptance as an integral part of the devotional practices of the Emerging Church. Pope Benedict XVI said in a 2005 speech, “I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.” Lectio is also said to be adaptable for people of other faiths in reading their scripture—whether that be the Bhagavad Gita, the Torah, or the Koran. Non-Christians may simply make suitable modifications of the method to accommodate secular traditions. Further, the four principles of lectio divina can also be adapted to the four Jungian psychological principles of sensing, thinking, intuiting, and feeling.
The actual practice of lectio divina begins with a time of relaxation, making oneself comfortable and clearing the mind of mundane thoughts and cares. Some lectio practitioners find it helpful to concentrate by beginning with deep, cleansing breaths and reciting a chosen phrase or word over and over to help free the mind. Then they begin with the four steps:
Lectio - Reading the Bible passage gently and slowly several times. The passage itself is not as important as the savoring of each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the "still, small voice" of a word or phrase that somehow speaks to the practitioner.
Meditatio - Reflecting on the text of the passage and thinking about how it applies to one's own life. This is considered to be a very personal reading of the Scripture and very personal application.
Oratio – Responding to the passage by opening the heart to God. This is not primarily an intellectual exercise, but is thought to be more of the beginning of a conversation with God.
Contemplatio - Listening to God. This is a freeing of oneself from one's own thoughts, both mundane and holy, and hearing God talk to us. Opening the mind, heart, and soul to the influence of God."
Kate, my Theresian group has done this several times. Our Spiritual director's take on it is to read a scripture several times. Each time it's read, think of words that just 'jump out' or 'speak' to you. We would just quietly call out the words or phrases as we gave thought and prayer to what we'd listened to. I'm not usually looking for a word or phrase when I pray, so I don't particularly like this form. But many in our group do. Hope this helps.
Mary Houston, TX.
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Have any of you heard of a prayer/meditation on Scripture called Lectio Divina? My son's girl friend was researching it for a class for high school kids she's doing tomorrow. Son and GF are just finished with their 2nd year in college, and help with the younger teens in Life Teen. Thanks. Kate
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