Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
Pope Francis has named the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (this weekend) the Sunday of the Word of God. This weekend, then, I want to highlight the practice of Lectio Divina, a way of prayerfully reading and entering into Scripture. Sometimes we can be a bit daunted by the Bible; the key is just to start. I remember someone once saying that Scripture tells our story—the faces just change. This is when the Scriptures really come alive: when we realize they are God’s word to us and for us. In them we encounter our story.
Here is a short description of Lectio Divina from a larger article that can be found at this link: https://www.aquinasandmore.com/blog/how-to-do-lectio-divina-catholic-meditative-prayer/.
Lectio – The first step is reverential listening: listening both in a spirit of silence and of awe. You are listening for the voice of God speaking to you intimately. In lectio, read slowly and attentively, listening for a word or phrase that is God’s Word for you.
Meditatio – Once you have heard your word or phrase that is speaking to you in a personal way, take it in and ponder it. Memorize it, and while gently repeating it to yourself, allow it to interact with your thoughts, your memories, your hopes, your desires. This is the second step or stage. In this step, allow God’s Word to become His Word for you, a word that touches you and affects you at your deepest levels
Oratio – The third step is the prayer step…prayer understood both as dialogue with God and as consecration, or prayer as an offering to God of parts of ourselves that we have not previously believed God wants. Allow the word that we have taken in and on which we are meditating to touch and change your deepest self. Just as a priest consecrates the bread and wine at the Eucharist, God invites us to hold up our most difficult and pain-filled experiences to Him, and to gently recite over them the healing word or phrase He has given us in our lectio and meditatio. Finally, allow yourself to be touched and changed by the Word of God.
Contemplatio – In the final step, simply rest in the presence of God and accept His transforming embrace. No one who has ever been in love needs to be reminded that there are moments in loving relationships when words are not even necessary. It is the same in our relationship with God. Contemplation during the Lectio Divina is a wordless, quiet rest in the presence of God. In silence, let go of your own words and simply enjoy the experience of being in the presence of God.
This prayerful reading of Scripture is one of my favorite ways to pray. This is the foundation of my homily preparation as I read through the Scriptures for each Sunday and ask the Lord what He wants me to preach about.
I hope this helps each of us enter more deeply into God’s Word!