Lectio Divina

Jaime VanNostrand   -  

As you may have gathered in our months of shared faith at home practices, they are often new and novel ways of recognizing God’s presence in our daily lives.  However, there are many simple, accessible practices that are nearly as ancient as our faith itself. This month we will be engaging together in just such a practice.

Lectio Divina, or “divine reading”, is an ancient method of engaging with scripture that can cultivate in us greater depth of understanding and experience than is often associated with a more casual reading. There are four simple steps you can follow to engage in this practice yourself; read, meditate, pray, and contemplate.

You begin by simply reading the passage of scripture. Notice the word or phrase that most catches your attention.

Meditate on this word or phrase. This can be as simple as repeating it over and over again in your mind. Sit with it. Notice what thoughts, feelings, or associations come up for you as you turn the word or phrase over in your mind.

What came up during your time of meditation? Bring it to God in prayer. Perhaps you have a worry to place in God’s care or gratitude to express or joy to delight in. Perhaps you feel led to ask for or offer forgiveness. Spend this time prayerfully considering whatever came up during your meditation.

Rest in God’s presence. Be assured that God is with you in this moment. Listen for any invitation that God may be extending to you through this passage, whether it be to action, reflection, celebration, or rest.

There are many ways to alter this practice to best suit your needs and circumstances. If you are practicing Lectio Divina as a family, consider letting children take turns being the readers. Perhaps you would like to let each family member lead one of the steps or share your experiences of each step with one another as you progress through the exercise. You may even want to try reading other texts that are important to you or your family like a selection from a favorite novel, poem, or song. However you decide to make Lectio Divina a part of your life, I hope you find in it a meaningful path to time spent in the presence of God.