What is Lectio Divina?
By Fr. Daniel Pinell
Lectio Divina or Divine Reading is an ancient Christian contemplative practice where we slow down and carefully chew on a biblical text multiple times, allowing God to speak to us through this text. This practice was established as a monastic practice by St. Benedict in the 6th century as a way to pray the Scriptures.
Lectio Divina has found a home in the Anglican communion since its inception. Thomas Cranmer in his homily on Scripture exhorted this practice: “Let us ruminate, and, as it were, chew the cud, that we may have the sweet juice, spiritual effect, marrow, honey, kernel, taste, comfort and consolation of them.”
Lectio Divina has 4 steps:
1. Lectio (Read). The first step is to read. Get to know the Scripture passage. Listen carefully to any words or phrases that jump out to you. Wait patiently for God’s gentle nudging and guidance.
2. Meditatio (Reflect). Go back to the passage, paying attention to what God might be speaking to you in the words and phrases that jumped out to you. Remember, this is not a Bible Study, so try not to analyze the text. Reflect instead on what God is trying to tell you in this text.
3. Oratio (Respond). After the third reading, you can respond. Write down your reflections. Write down what the Lord is speaking to you. Respond in prayer if you feel moved to do so.
4. Contemplatio (Rest). Finally, spend some time in silent prayer. This is not a time for further reflection, spoken prayer or mediation. Rest in God’s presence. If your mind starts wandering off, gently bring it back to silence and stillness without judgment.
Grace Episcopal Church will be hosting Lectio Divina during the season of Advent on Wednesdays at 6 pm on YouTube. We hope you can join us!