The Bible is the
Word of God and it is God Who speaks to you through it. Pay attention to understand the
text and apply to yourself everything about which the passage-speaks.
from: Montanari, Marcello. Un Metodo per pregare:
La "Lectio Divina. " II Messagio della Santa Casa. 3, Marzo, 1991
benefits and advantages of the ancient practice of the Lectio Divina, we discover
that many descriptions add the note of a specific resolution meant to influence the Active
Life. So, it becomes a life which is renewed each day in the light of the Word of God over
which one has prayed and contemplated. We give the following as one explanation of the
method of Lectio Divina.
Choose a passage
from the Scriptures and read it over very slowly, attentively and devoutly (for 5 - 10
minutes) after having prayed to the Holy Spirit to open your mind and heart to fully
understand His message. The Bible is the Word of God and it is God Who speaks to you
through it. Pay attention to understand the text and apply to yourself everything about
which the passage-speaks.
Let the practice of
Francis, filled with faith in God's Word, encourage you. Remember how he opened the
Lectionary 3 times in the Church of St. Nicholas to find out what God had in mind for him
and his new brothers.
Meditation or Reflection.
This is a careful
re-reading of the text in an attentive and personal search to understand its meaning for
you at this moment. As the ancient spiritual writers put it: you must "chew" and
"ruminate" the Word of God and apply what you have read to your life. You must
let your life stand before the light of God's Word. Again, look up a text or incident from
the life of Francis which would illustrate this for you.
This is your way of
responding to the God Who has spoken to you. The Word which you have pondered will suggest
to you from time to time an appeal for forgiveness, or an expression of thanks for all the
graces received, or a trustful surrender to God's loving Mercy, or a plea for help to
enable you to accept the Will of God revealed to you in your reflection. Prayer becomes
your expression of praise, of love, an outpouring of your heart. As St. Augustine says:
"When you read (the Scriptures) it is God Who speaks to you, when you pray it is you
who speak to God", and what you speak will be suggested by the very word you have
We have an example
in Celano where Francis, reflecting upon the Gospel text is so moved, that he changes it
into a prayer of praise to God.
The word you have
read is a fragment, a reflection of the Truth which is Christ. Under the guidance of the
Spirit, little by little, you will feel the desire to see The One Who has spoken to you,
to taste His love, to contemplate His wonderful deeds. Although you feel yourself unworthy
of such a sublime gift ( for contemplation is a gift) you will expand your heart so as to
welcome the Holy Spirit Who makes you live in love and mystical union with God. You will
begin to see everything with the eyes of God and enjoy peace. You will even forget
yourself to lose yourself in the Praise of God and to rejoice in the Spirit as did
This is the path to
the highest form of mystical prayer where the soul is lost in an ocean of divine love and
union with God, anticipating the joys of heaven.
Lectio Divina reaches
its goal with contemplation and at this level it would be complete; but there can be
further benefits for one's daily life and activities. In the light of the reading which
you have prayed over and contemplated, the Spirit makes you understand what you should do,
like the answer to the plea of Francis: "Lord, What do you want me to do?" Some
explanations of prayer give discernment as one of the fruits of Lectio Divina and
then decision or a specific choice to be carried out: "At Your word I will let down
the nets." Recall an example from the life of St. Francis.
6. To Live the Word
You must begin to
form your life according to the word which you have read, according to the life of Christ
which you have contemplated ... to live the Gospel. Again we have the example of St.
Francis who was no idle hearer of the Word but hastened to put into practice what he
Daily Life We Return Again To Prayer.
A life full of
activity tends to distract you from God and to impoverish your spirit. This in turn shows
you the need to constantly return to the Word of God for the light needed to walk
according to God's Plan and to pray for the strength to persevere in doing penance. Again,
we look to the life of Francis, that "Apostolic Man" dedicated to preaching the
message of conversion and reconciliation. The greater part of the year was set aside for
prayer and contemplation. The Canons of the Cathedral in Assisi gave him a little room
where he spent hours in prayer before preaching a Sunday sermon!
Montanari, Marcello. Un Metodo per pregare: La "Lectio Divina. " II
Messagio della Santa Casa. 3, Marzo, 1991 p.69f.