Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lectio divina - a way to pray that will astonish you!

Lectio divina is a slow, contemplative way to pray the Scriptures. I learned how to do this from my diocesan coordinator for Small Christian Communities, and I have used it with wonderful results in RCIA, my Small Christian Community group, and various ministry committee meetings at my parish. This can be done alone, but the spiritual insights are astounding when done with a small group. Try it!

Gather in a quiet spot at a time set aside for contemplation and prayer. Allow 20 minutes. Describe the process so that people know what to expect, and guide people firmly through the process.

Select a short, stand-alone passage from the Scriptures. Part of the previous Sunday's Gospel is usually excellent.

1. Read the Gospel. Everyone spends a minute or so in silent reflection.

2. Read the Gospel. Go around the circle, with everyone sharing a single word, short phrase, or image that stands out to them. DO NOT DISCUSS. Be brief. You may need to restate the ground rules.

3. Read the Gospel. Go around the circle, with everyone sharing just a sentence or two about what INSPIRES or CHALLENGES them. Again, do not discuss. Be brief.

4. Read the Gospel. Go around the circle, with everyone giving a short prayer. When all are done, the leader concludes this reflection time with a prayer.

OK -- now you are done with the Lectio divina. Now you can talk freely, discuss, debate, look up references and commentaries, or otherwise go on with your meeting.

Yes! You really read the Scripture passage through FOUR TIMES. Trust me -- try it! The profound insights that have come out of a group of committed Christians all listening to their hearts is beautiful -- and usually everyone has a different and important insight. Lectio divina is a direct encounter with the Living Word of God. No previous experience is necessary! But please follow the directions given above -- it is a time for each person to share whatever comes to their hearts -- it is not a time for Bible study per sec.

Here are some websites that talk about it more:

Written description Fr.
Luke Dysinger:

YouTube video by Fr. Jim Martin:

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