I first read about the concept of Lectio Divina in Kathleen Norris' The Cloister Walk; immediately, I was spellbound. (Obviously this book has been fundamental to my spiritual walk as I've now mentioned it twice in one week.) On a side note, Kathleen Norris will be the featured speaker at Point Loma Nazarene University's incredible Writers Symposium by the Sea in late March. I've heard her speak before, and she is well-worth hearing and seeing. (In fact, several friends flew in to attend the symposium the last time she spoke.)
Anyway, back to Lectio. Lectio Divina (Latin for "divine reading") is simply an ancient way to read and meditate on Scripture. Based on third century practice and honed through the centuries, Lectio is a tried-and-true method for owning God's Word, hiding it in our heart, and applying it to our lives.
Father Bosco Peters, an Anglican priest in New Zealand, has an incredible Web site and blog, Liturgy, and this week he posted a short video by a New York priest who explains Lectio Divina in a somewhat humorous but very easy-to-understand way. This link will take you to Fr. Bosco's site where you may watch this five-minute video: Lectio Divina.
One of my favorite sites about the practice of Lectio can also be seen here: Accepting the Embrace of God: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina. Obviously, entire books have been written about Lectio, especially with its popularity rising among Catholics and Protestants alike. Lectio formed the heart of the retreat I led for the women of Lake Murray Community Church five years ago, and, in a way, it also became the heart of The Pilgrim Pathway, my NaNoWriMo novel I hope to finish (rough draft form only) by the end of November.
The beauty of Lectio is that it forces us to slow down. In our busy, tyranny-of-the-urgent lifestyle, slowing down is a grace. A gift. And Lectio makes us do just that. We can't use Lectio without coming to a screeching halt and stopping to savor God's Word, ingesting it, and letting it fill us up. It creates its own energy as we digest more and more of God's Holy Word -- as we Eat This Book, as Eugene Peterson admonishes us in his book of the same title.
Try Lectio Divina. As with any method, as with any art, it will take time to develop the skill of Lectio, but I encourage you to persevere. To slow down and savor the Word of the Lord for which the Anglicans thank God each time they read it aloud in service: a wonderful and helpful practice, in my not-so-humble opinion. There is so much that is good and right, that points us directly to Jesus, in liturgical worship and methods, and Lectio Divina is only one, albeit a fundamental one, as it teaches us to slow down and prayerfully meditate and chew on the Holy Word of our Holy God.