Lectio Divina (literally the divine word) is a meditative practice that uses scripture (or any sacred writing) to help focus our reflection and attend to the promptings of God’s Spirit in our lives. The process of Lectio Divina involves four progressive phases, flowing from reflection on the sacred word to spontaneous prayer and then to silent basking in the love of God.
The four movements are reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.
A possible framework:
- Prepare: Take time to quiet yourself in mind, body and spirit. You may choose to begin with a simple breathing exercise to still your mind and quiet your soul.
- Reading: Choose a short reading or passage of text (say 5-10 verses). It may be a text that you have heard recently, or one that has kept coming to mind, or one that you choose at random. Slowly read it, listening to it with your heart. Often a word or phrase will stand out. Savour this as you listen more deeply to what God may be saying to you.
- Meditation: Take a few moments to be open to the gentle promptings of the Spirit, being attentive to the thoughts and feelings that you sense as you wait in the silence. Sometimes it can be helpful to repeat some significant word(s) from the reading (as a mantra), or to let your imagination flow (perhaps even drawing or writing in the process), or to listen to music as you reflect on the words you have read, or to sit in silence and wait patiently upon God’s Spirit.
- Prayer: Whatever direction you are led at this time, find a way to respond to the insights and awarenesses that have come to your attention in whatever way is real for you.
- Contemplation: The transition to contemplation happens as we open ourselves to the Spirit of God and our natural faculties of reason, imagination and affective feelings are progressively replaced by an ever-deepening awareness of and longing for the nearness and action of God’s Spirit within us. This may be felt as an overwhelming experience of being loved absolutely.