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What is Lectio Divina?

by Phillip Kroh


This week I am writing talk about the second in four categories of spiritual disciplines or means of growth, tradition, scripture, reason, and experience. To give an example of a spiritual discipline related to scripture, I offer to you the practice of Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina is a method for approaching scripture that was originally developed in monastic communities and consists of four stages: lectio (reading), meditation (meditation), oratio (prayer), and contemplation (contemplation).


The first step is a bit on the nose. To read some scripture! But it has some nuance to it as well, suggesting a reading that tries to approach it as if for the first time. A reading that is reflective and unhurried. Like reading a love letter that is the only communication for a long time and you are eager to reach the end but afraid to do so and so you relish each word.


The second step is to meditate or ponder the reading. This one is also a bit different as well as it is suggested to not try and analyze or actively make sense of the reading. Instead, it is suggested to try to hold the reading in the mind with frugality of presence. To try and keep a sense of what was read at an internal arm’s length holding it loosely and being open to the movement of the spirit.


The third step is to engage in spoken prayer directed at or engaged with God and Christ. The tradition suggests letting this arise naturally from the second step during or after feeing inspiration. And the final step is contemplation, silent prayer directed at or engaged with God and Christ. This week, I invite you to practice Lectio Divina or another spiritual practice related to scripture, and let me know what you find out!