Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

"Lectio Divina", a Latin term, means "divine reading" and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby you gradually let go of your own agenda and open yourself to what God wants to say to you. Praying the Scriptures in Lectio Divina allows you to grow in relationship with Christ because the Word of God is alive and active and will transform you if you open yourself to receive what God wants to tell you.

There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina but most common is based on four stages. These stages are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines as to how the prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve and the Word is revealed before the eyes of your heart.


Stage 1: Lectio (reading)

Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you. For this reading you can select a passage from one of the Gospels in which Jesus is interacting with others. Of course any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.


Stage 2: Meditatio (reflection)

Think about the text you have chosen and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you. 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 that, 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.


Stage 3: Oratio (response)

Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. Whether you use words, ideas, or images is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. Give to him what you have discovered during your experience of meditation. Give to God what you have found within your heart. This response is inspired by your reflection on the Word of God.


Stage 4: Contemplatio (rest)

Let go not only of your own ideas, plans and meditations but also of your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. Do not expect lightning or ecstasies. In Lectio Divina, God is teaching you to listen to him, to seek him in silence. He gently invites you ever more deeply into his presence. As you listen, you can be gradually transformed from within and this will have a profound effect on the way you actually live and can help you to find answers to your nurturing questions and prayers.


Below there are some Bible passages as a suggestion for your prayers in Lectio Divina:

  • Mk 1:16-20
  • Mt 19:16-22
  • Lk 5:1-11
  • Lk 9:57-62
  • Lk 18:18-29
  • Jn 15:9-17