Praying the Scriptures (also known as Lectio Divina)

Praying the Scriptures (also known as Lectio Divina)

Lectio Divina, or “sacred readings,” is a form of praying texts. Although praying the Scriptures is the most common form of lectio divina, it is also possible to pray other texts, such as poetry or devotional writings.
The classical form of lectio divina has four components, but in his book Invitation to a Journey M. Robert Mulholland adds introductory and concluding elements that are very helpful. What follows is an adaptation of Mulholland’s explanation of the components of lectio divina.

Silencio – We prepare ourselves for spiritual reading by engaging in a period of silence. (The length of silence needed will vary from person to person.) During this time of silence we attempt to let go of our anxieties and inner dialogues and open ourselves to receiving God’s Word.

Lectio – We read the text thoughtfully and slowly, engaging as many senses as possible. Reading the text aloud can be very helpful.

Meditatio – In this step we reflect upon words or images that especially speak to us based upon our reading.

Oratio – We respond to God based upon our reading and pondering. With words we express to God feelings and thoughts elicited by our reading of the text.

Contemplatio – We rest, simply rest, in God’s presence, yielding ourselves to God’s care and opening ourselves even further to receiving what God desires to give.

Incarnatio – The final step calls us to live out the text we have been praying. Instead of trying to master the text, we allow the text to master us and lead us to more faithful and abundant living in the larger world.


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