Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Heart of Lectio Divina

From another devotional book, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, excerpts from the works of Father Thomas Keating, I've been reading about another passion of mine, Lectio Divina. Lectio is an ancient way of reading Scripture slowly and meditatively, letting each word and phrase speak to our hearts. Devotional material can also be read in this manner, but it's usually reserved for Scripture. I love lingering over Scripture, thinking and pondering and listening to God's voice as He speaks through His Word.

Here are some quotes from this week's entries from Keating's works:

Lectio Divina leads to a personal relationship with God. The ancient monastic way of doing lectio does not mean reading a lot. It means reading the text until you feel the call of the Spirit either to reflect on a particular passage, sentence, or phrase.... You may want to praise God, ask for something, or converse with God. Or you may feel like pouring out your heart to God.

I love how Keating talks about how lectio is a personal experience. What he writes about here reminds me of precisely what Edie told us years ago about "quiet times" -- keep reading until God speaks. It may be only a word or a phrase, but be listening for His voice.

And another passage:

The heart of the prayer is to recognize the presence and action of God and to consent to it.... The most intimate relationship with God is to be completely present to God in whatever we are doing. What we do in silence under ideal circumstances, we begin to do in daily life, remaining in the interior freedom we experienced during contemplative prayer even in the midst of intense activity.

Consenting to God is something I really desire. I want to be truly present to Him, and I want my interior life to roll into my active life. My life is so active with four kids to home school plus other commitments, but I want to have a peaceful and contemplative spirit that transfers from contemplation and silence into kids and busy-ness.

Keating's book keeps me inspired and teaches me how to accomplish a contemplative life not just in spite of but more completely because of my busy life. (I hope that makes sense!) That's invaluable, and lectio divina, "divine reading," is definitely a path that takes me into the presence of God.

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