Spiritual Practice: Lectio Divina
As you may know, my newest book, The Retreat: A Tale of Spiritual Awakening, will be out in March through Harper Legend (pssst, you can actually pre-order it on Amazon). In anticipation of that, I invite you to join me on a journey of spiritual awakening as we try different spiritual practices together. Every two weeks, I will blog about a different spiritual practice; we can try it together and discuss how it is or isn’t working for you! Ready, set, GO!
Review of Body Listening: How did it go for you? I’m glad to say that my eye twitching resolved in about three days — so grateful. My break from Facebook was key so I’m glad I listened.
Today will talk about one of my favorite Spiritual Practices, Lectio Divina, which is Latin for Divine Reading. This practice comes to us from the Benedictines. In its traditional form, Lectio Divina has four separate steps: reading, reflection, response, rest. It’s more about listening than reading. You can use this spiritual practice with the Bible or any holy book, or even with poetry. To demonstrate I’m going to use a beautiful poem by ee cummings called, I Am a Little Church.
You can google Lectio Divina and find a lot of ways to do it, but I’ll share an easy and fun way. You can do this in a group or alone; I’ve done it both ways. If you are in a group, you can speak the word, or invitation aloud at the end of each reading.
The first step in Lectio Divina is to read the passage slowly, meditatively, perhaps read it out loud.
Let’s try it together:
i am a little church (no great cathedral)
far from the splendour and squalor of hurrying cities
– i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest
i not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of the earth’s own clumsy striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying) children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness
around them surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory in death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope, and I wake to a perfect patience of mountains
i am a little church (far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish) at peace with nature
– i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing
winter by spring, i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)
During the second reading listen for a word or phrase that sticks out to you and reflect on it for a moment. You can even speak that word or phrase aloud.
During the third reading listen for an invitation from the passage. Something you might want to keep or do or try in response to the passage.
Then rest. Let the passage sink in and stay with you throughout the day.
Try it before reading on!
Let me know what word or phrase stood out to you.
For me it was the line: “over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope, and I wake to a perfect patience of mountains”
With the world as crazy as it is, this image if very comforting to me right now. I love to think of hope floating over me as I sleep. I need to reflect on the perfect patience of mountains. I can see mountains out the window from where I am typing. They have lived through and survived so many things — a testament that we will live and survive the changes in our government and world. I needed that assurance today.
By the way, I want to introduce you to a book I’m using to help me practice Lectio Divina. It’s by one of my favorite authors, Jan Johnson, and I’m linking it here. If you want to use Lectio with scripture, this book will be a great help.
Let me know if these practices are helping you!