Lectio Divina (or “sacred reading”) is a method for engaging with scripture as a contemplative practice, helping transcend common mental processing in favor of deeper spiritual or heart-based absorption. Such sacred reading has been practiced by Christian monks for over 1500 years. Below are instructions to help you engage in this practice.
- Choose a short sacred reading to work with.
- Sit in a quiet place and read the text slowly, aloud. Allow the words to wash over you, like warm water in a shower.
- Read the text again. This time notice a word or phrase that captures your attention. It might be a word that stands out or “shimmers.” Perhaps it stirs an attraction, a body response or a curiosity or aversion. Stay with that word.
Notice what emotions or memories or thoughts are stimulated by that word or phrase. Allow the emotion or memory or imagination or thought to arise fully. What are you feeling – emotionally and in your body? What are you thinking? Why are you drawn to what you are drawn to? Or repelled by what you are repelled by? Note: this is not a time to analyze the text in the way we do when we are studying a text. This is more like an intuitive dialogue between the text and our inner lives.
- If you would like to offer a prayer after this time of meditating on your word, please do. For instance, you can ask for whatever help or grace you desire. You can pray for another person or about a concern. You can offer praise or gratitude. This is a time for an inner conversation with the divine.
- Spend a few minutes in silence, letting all thoughts and feelings go and simply resting in the divine.