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I find in the way of your demands

more joy than in all riches.

I find my pleasure in your requirements:
they are the ones who advise me.
My happiness is the law of your mouth
more than a heap of gold or silver.
How sweet to my palate, your promise:
honey has less flavor in my mouth!
Your demands will remain my heritage,
the joy of my heart.
With my mouth wide open, I inhale,
thirsty for your wills.

Psalm 118

 

NB The texts on this page come from the site of Father Christophe de DREUILLE: http://lectiodivina.catholique.fr

The Spirit of Lectio divina in the tradition

Lectio divina (“holy reading”) is a Latin expression that refers to a method of prayer developed by the Fathers of the Church, inspired by the Judaic model. It is an exercise in spiritual reading.

The relationship to the Bible, as to the living Word of God given to man, is rooted in the oldest Jewish tradition, to which the very wording of the Old Testament testifies: the Word of God is given to the inside the history of the people of Israel. Transmitted by the prophets and put in writing to cross the times, it allows the people to reread their history in the light of revelation.

 

The most traditional interpretation of the Scriptures is to perceive how the given Word actualizes itself in the life of the believer today. With the Gospels, the relationship with the Scriptures deepens. From the actualization of the Word, the Christian can move on to the fulfillment of this Word in the person of Christ. The Risen Jesus, having accomplished our salvation through his paschal mystery, now constitutes the key to understanding all of the Scriptures.

 
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“Lectio divina constitutes a true spiritual itinerary in stages. From lectio, which consists of reading and rereading a passage of Sacred Scripture while collecting its main elements, we move on to meditatio, which is like an interior pause, where the soul turns to God while seeking to understand what his word says today for concrete life. Then comes the oratio, which allows us to talk to God in a direct dialogue, and which finally leads us to the contemplatio; this helps us to keep our hearts attentive to the presence of Christ, whose word is a "lamp shining in the darkness, until day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts" (2 P 1, 19). "

Benedict XVI, June 22, 2006

1. The "Lectio"

This simple, but attentive, slow and dense reading is already a divine presence, truth revealed in Jesus Christ. This reading is actually not that easy to do. It asks for silence, availability, gratuity and attention, if it does not want to be superficial and if it wants to lead us to contemplation. We must learn not to pass too quickly over this first step of the divine pedagogy of lectio divina.

This is why each reading must be done calmly, peacefully, without haste, without this desire to know which denotes a critical research, a human work which wants to pierce a reality which presents itself and which one wants to understand, to possess. The "lectio" is an opening, it is not a conquest. So we do it well only if we read, leaving from the beginning to the Spirit of God the freedom to enlighten us as he wants, to make us see what he wants us to contemplate, to make us desire this light which will become prayer, call, offering and surrender to love; this love which is revealed by communicating and which transforms by enlightening.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

By reading these texts, and by rereading them a second or third time, by "ruminating" on them, perhaps by writing them, certain passages attract the inner attention of the one who reads them; Already an attraction is established, a dialogue between the Word which manifests itself and the one who wants to understand and follow it. This supposes, while reading, an ever greater openness to the Spirit who guides us and illuminates the text. You just have to accept being informed and guided.

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2. The "meditatio"

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It is from lectio that meditatio takes place. It is good to avoid reasoning on the texts and not to look too quickly for applications from the meditated texts.

This meditatio must be careful. It must not fix us on ourselves, it can only fix us on God   ; it cannot be human work, study, analysis; it must remain welcoming and open. It is a desire for intelligence and vision. It leads to a prayerful adherence and favors an ever more unified and more complete contemplation of the mystery of God, according to his views. It is a delicate step.

Indeed, the “meditatio” could be easily introspective, seeking immediate concrete applications, personal and even apostolic, which greatly reduces the field of vision and prevents seeing the greatness and breadth of the contemplated mystery, of the reading made. , of the Word heard, heard. Every Word of Scripture cannot have a point of concrete application at all times.

Meditation can profitably feed on the “symphony of Scripture”, a biblical text that can be illuminated by others; it is also nourished by the treasure of the Christian tradition which has already received this Word of God with fruit.

We can also rely on information found in notes in a well-commented Bible, when they clarify the meaning of the text. It is after lectio divina that we must read this information, and not during the time of prayer of the Word. The exegetical study of the sacred text will help lectio divina all the better if it underlines its importance in the History of Salvation, informs about its addressee, gives the structure of the text and explains its scope.

Such a study can be prayerful; it will be all the more so since the well-done lectio divina preceded the study. The latter is all the richer as a text has often been the subject of lectio divina.


Finally, let us note that a “meditatio” can be all the more fruitful as the fruit of its reflection has been noted. Such text will be noted because better understood, such other will be retained and noted which offered an occasion for prayer. When the prayer becomes simple, it becomes “litanical”, in which case it can very well be put in writing; it will be repeated after.

 

3. The "oratio"

Prayer is formulated in relation to the texts that nourish it. Little by little, one gets used to transforming the texts into short prayers, into simple invocations, into short words that are repeated internally; they support deeper prayer. We can give it a long enough time; it can also be resumed in free time, in a time of Eucharistic adoration or a more prolonged, peaceful and relaxed prayer. It leads to contemplatio.

 

In front of the greatness of God and the infinite goodness of his love, this oratio goes beyond faith in revealed truth to become adherence to divine love, abandonment to his mercy, trust in this infinite goodness of the Father who sends his Son and us give the Spirit. This movement changes reflection into an adoration in which all man forgets himself so as to fix only the Source of all goodness, the most holy, strong and immortal God, the God who is infinite and eternal love.

The believer simplifies his adhesion to God by a filial Amen which the Holy Spirit forms in him, uniting his heart with the Heart of Christ; adjusting one's own attitude to the interior disposition of Christ (cf. Phil 2), arousing the desire to follow Christ on the paths of love, placing oneself with him as co-operator with God, savior with Christ the Savior, accepting burial with Christ in order to rise again with his Lord.

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The prayer of the heart is a surge of the soul, a movement of admiration before the greatness, the beauty of the mystery revealed. God is big ! God is beautiful! God is good ! Prayer is expressed by living this mystery of divine grandeur and beauty in which every man finds himself in the light of God, in the light of revelation.

This prayer, nourished by the Word of God, can take on all the accents of the biblical prayer expressed in the Psalms and hymns of the Old and New Testaments: adoration, praise, trust, thanksgiving, request for conversion and forgiveness. , supplication.

4. The "contemplatio"

In the silence of God, man measures the fullness of life reserved for him.   He calms down, he pacifies himself; his gaze is illuminated in the eternal light and his heart is attached to the goods which no longer pass: here, oratio, filial prayer, becomes divine contemplation. Man clings with all his heart to the One who created him, he gives himself entirely to the One who gave himself up to save him, he consecrates himself to the One who in an eternal call, called him by his name and consecrated it to be His forever.

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Contemplatio goes beyond any effort by an act of adhesion to God in faith in his Love; it becomes hope in his mercy, it stretches out in charity to love all that God loves and to refer everything to Him. We love for God, because of Him, like Him, for love of God and love of men.   Contemplation fixes the whole being in God from now on; it enables man to be by his very presence the witness of God, the instrument of his goodness, the sign of his charity.

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With experience, we note that contemplatio knows this ardor which is a free gift, an intervention of God, often unexpected, that it takes in us a spontaneous form which is not the effect of an effort, of 'a proper activity, the result of generosity; it is a free gift from God which unites us to Him, abides in us and makes us abide in Him. This gift makes us feel a presence of love which is life, strength, ardor, heat, consuming fire, purifying, flame of love. This is the effect of the action of the Spirit. The "Veni Creator", from which these words are taken, forms a little link with God and a spiritual experience that contemplation experiences and always attests again.

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What matters above all is to situate contemplatio at the very center of what it is. Contemplatio is rest in God. It is “rest”, because it unifies internally; it fixes all the attention on the presence, the action of God in us, it centers us on God who dwells in us and therefore allows us to dwell in Him. Father and Son make their home in us. They will come into us, if we follow, if we keep their commandments, that is, their inspiration, their Spirit.

This rest in God is an interior transformation; it allows us to be wholly for God.

It is in this rest that worship takes place. To worship is to recognize the greatness of God, his beauty, his love. It is praising his majesty, the magnitude of his gifts, it is professing that we are from him, in him, through him, it is to bear witness to him and to pay homage to him, by giving him all that we are, all that we have received, the world which is united to us as we are united to it by divine will; worship is an offering and thanksgiving; she lives love, a gift from God which allows us to love him alone, him always more.

Worship is the highest prayer, the perfect prayer, that of angels and the elect, that of those who see God . And we can already see it in faith, an illuminated faith which is illuminated when it is a vision of love, an exchange of love. Perfect adoration because filial, prayer of Jesus who, poor, received everything and delivered everything in one love, who, obedient, did nothing but the Father's will, to be his Word, to do his works, to manifest his love , give his glory.

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From lectio divina to action and witness

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Let us not forget, first of all, that the fruit of all prayer is not made to be given in prayer itself but in our commitments that prayer thus comes to illuminate.

Contemplation transfigures the apostle, it deepens his word to make it the Word of God; she transforms her gestures to manifest the features of the Incarnate Word.

Contemplation transfigures the apostle, it deepens his word to make it the Word of God; she transforms her gestures to manifest the features of the Incarnate Word.

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The lectio divina, done regularly, with generosity, prolonged in a movement of abandonment and wonder, gives little by little a vision of divine things which allows us not only to discern the ways of God, to know the mystery of salvation, but which brings us into the divine light. This divine light unites by illuminating, illuminates by bringing everything back to the source of all life, simplifies by uniting everything in the One who is the eternal Word of the Father and attracts everything in the One who is Love, who alone is worthy to be loved above. of everything and forever.

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Inspired by the biblical image of the “holy ladder” (cf. Gn 28,12 and Jn 1,51), Guigues le Chartreux collected the patristic and monastic heritage on lectio divina and synthesized this pedagogy divine by proposing four levels which allow, starting from the reception of the Word, to lead to the contemplation and to nourish the action.

Action is less an additional rung, a fifth rung, of the holy ladder than another way of implementing this same divine pedagogy. Its progression to which we are accustomed by lectio divina lived regularly has a close correspondence with the way in which we will be able, as Saint Peter recommends, "to bear witness to the hope which is in us". Lectio divina therefore nourishes our way of witnessing the Good News.

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• The first level, the “lectio”, finds its correspondent in the importance that there is, during our meetings, in welcoming the other with the same availability that we learn for welcoming the Word. of God. Entering into a real listening which frees the other's speech and which often, we experience it, allows him to formulate what the person himself was not even aware of. It is sometimes the most decisive step in the pastoral encounter, in witnessing, to allow access to the word. We find a superb expression of this in the emblematic meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman in John 4.

• At the second level, the “meditatio” corresponds, in the order of witnessing, to the link that we can make between what the person we meet expresses and what the Word of God reveals. Help the other to enter on a journey.

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