Lectio Divina: Praying with the Scriptures

About this article

Making Scripture part of our lives is the task of every Christian. Here are some simple step to help the Word become enfleshed in you.
The Scriptures is one of the greatest riches possessed by Christians. Often attributed to Saint Jerome, there is the saying that "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of God". However, Catholics are often less comfortable and deft with Scripture than Protestant Christians. Is there an accessible way for Catholics to engage the Holy Bible?

Drawing from the ancient tradition of Benedictine monks and sisters, I would like to offer lectio divina as a way for Catholics to approach Scripture. Translated as "holy reading", lectio divina is four step method of praying with the Bible. I suggest taking one of the daily readings from the liturgy and follow the four steps:

1. Read-- Take the passage and get a sense of what is being said.

2. Reflect-- Read through the passage a second time. This time go slowly. Use your brain during this part and reflect on the text. To guide your reflection, you might ask, "What does the passage say about God? What does this passage mean to me?"

3. Respond-- Pay attention to your heart and you feelings. The operative question during this step is, "Now that I reflected and gained some meaning into the passage, what do I want to pray for?" You may be prompted to offer prayers of thanksgiving. You may need to pray for someone else. Perhaps you realize you should pray for a change in behavior.

4. Rest-- I find his to be the hardest step. It is very easy me to talk to God. However, this final step is a time for us to listen for God's quiet voice deep within us. If nothing else, it is a time to sit and rest in God's loving presence.

Take Luke 5:1-11 and prayfully practice the four steps of lectio divina. Please let us know of your experience. We'd love to hear from you.

Acknowledgments

Copyright © 2009 Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this article to be freely used for classroom or campus ministry purposes; however, it may not be republished in any form without the explicit permission of Saint Mary's Press. For more resources to support your ministry, call 800-533-8095 or visit our Web site at www.smp.org.

Published August 15, 2003.