Catholic Survival Tip #8 for the Church Militant

Posted: February 13, 2014 in Prayer, Spiritual, Spiritual Warfare
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LECTIO DIVINIA
Lectio Divinia is a way of praying with Scripture that St. Ambrose taught to St. Augustine back in the 3rd century. It is a way of prayer that is to be followed in 4 phases, that leads one to a deeper understanding of what Scripure means.
PHASE 1 :  LECTIO (reading)
Reading the text slowly, try to figure out what the text is saying, what in particular jumps out at you and speaks to your heart?
PHASE 2 : MEDITATIO (meditation)
Take one word or phrase and repeat it, allowing yourself to engage in the text to see what images or thoughts come to you, to spark a dialogue with God. What bis this text saying to me directly?
PHASE 3 : ORATIO (prayer)
Speak to God. What experience does the text conjure that leads you to speak openly and honestly to God. Be silent at times too, to allow God the opportunity to speak back.
PHASE 4 : CONTEMPLATIO (contemplation)
While being still and resting in the presence of the Lord, allow God to work on your heart. Allow your mind to be rest peacefully with where the Holy Spirit leads you.
 
CHOOSE a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. Many Christians use in their daily lectio divina one of the readings from the Eucharistic liturgy for the day; others prefer to slowly work through a particular book of the Bible. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as one has no set goal of “covering” a certain amount of text: the amount of text “covered” is in God’s hands, not yours.

PLACE YOURSELF in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; other have a beloved “prayer word” or “prayer phrase” they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as “centering prayer” makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina. Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments.

THEN TURN to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today.” Do not expect lightening or ecstasies. In lectio divina God is teaching us to listen to Him, to seek Him in silence. He does not reach out and grab us; rather, He softly, gently invites us ever more deeply into His presence.

NEXT TAKE the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas. Do not be afraid of “distractions.” Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself which, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God.

THEN, SPEAK to God. Whether you use words or ideas or images or all three is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. And give to Him what you have discovered in yourself during your experience of meditatio. Experience yourself as the priest that you are. Experience God using the word or phrase that He has given you as a means of blessing, of transforming the ideas and memories, which your pondering on His word has awakened. Give to God what you have found within your heart.

FINALLY, SIMPLY rest in God’s embrace. And when He invites you to return to your pondering of His word or to your inner dialogue with Him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.divina. It is not necessary to anxiously assess the quality of one’s lectio divina as if one were “performing” or seeking some goal: lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.

 

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