A culture that has become less focused on words and more focused on images needs to remember and savor the power of good words. St. Benedict, in the Rule for his order of monks, encouraged meditation upon the words of Scripture every day. The words of your own mouth need to be related to the Word of God. Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading, is a practice of reading a Scriptural passage and entering more deeply—with our hearts and minds— into the scene and its lesson. This is an encounter with the living Word of God, the Word Made Flesh. In Lectio Divina, we read the words of Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to make them live in our hearts. Here’s an introduction to basic steps for Lectio Divina.
Upon repeated reading of the Scripture passage, the participant in Lectio Divina asks for the Lord’s help to unpack a particular word or segment of the passage, leading ideally to a level of contemplation that encounters the Lord in a personal way. Passages can become important parts of our live through the focused meditation on them and the love they contain. A good way to start is to spend time in advance reading of the Gospel for a Mass you’re going to attend. This prepares you to receive the Gospel message well and incorporate it into every day.
One might gain inspirational value from words in other settings through a process that is weakly analogous to Lectio Divina. People can be led to conversion through words of edifying books and oral presentations (Bill called it “Lecture Divina”) in which wise people share uplifting counsel. We sometimes tend to become echo chambers stuck in our own thoughts and words, but we must get better at receiving the gifts of inspiration others can give us through the working of the Holy Spirit.
The Liturgy of the Hours is a way to encounter the Sacred Scriptures and receive enriching insight into our faith. Every time you encounter a Psalm, you can get something more from its rich meaning, partly because youI are in a new place on your own journey. This reflects the living presence and accompaniment of the Lord through the Scriptures.
Ken and Bill encouraged listeners to take up the habit of reading the Liturgy of the Hours.