For the month of October we will be practicing an old Christian practice known as lectio divina – sacred reading. Lectio divina is a way to cultivate the ability to listen deeply, to hear, as St. Benedict wrote, “with the ear of our hearts”. It is a another way to develop our ability to pay attention – this time to the written word. By reading a text slowly, contemplatively, we become more open to the meaning behind the words. When you find a word or a passage that speaks to you, sit with it, ruminate on it, see where it takes you. What does it evoke for you, what connections do you find with your experiences? Please remember that contemplation is not another goal to be achieved, but a chance to rest in the grace of the world.
Lectio Divina as a Personal Practice
Use this week’s offering or choose a poem or a short passage from a sacred text, book of philosophy or book of meditations.
Find a quiet place that allows you to focus.
Sit in silence for a few moments, breathing deeply, letting your body relax.
Read the text carefully and slowly.
Repeat words or phrases that resonate for you.
Read the text aloud.
Reflect on why those words or phrases resonate, what meaning or understanding you are drawing from them.This may be done through quiet contemplation or journalling. Consider how this insight might nourish you in the coming days.
Read the text once more.
Sit in silence for a few moments more.
For families, you might choose a simple poem with strong images.
This poem is by American poet Mary Oliver.
What I Have Learned So Far
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.
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