Silence - Solitude - Service
Kuala Lumpur Chapter, Malaysia
LISTENING TO THE WORD OF GOD IN SCRIPTURE
Lectio Divina is one of the great treasures of the Christian Tradition of prayer. It means Divine Reading, which is reading the book we believe to be divinely inspired. This tradition of prayer flows out of a Hebrew method of studying the Scriptures which was called haggadah. Haggadah was an interactive interpretation of the Scriptures by means of the free use of the text to explore its inner meaning. It was part of the devotional practice of the Jews in the days of Jesus.
Listening to the Word of God in Scriptures (Lectio Divina) is a traditional way of cultivating friendship with Christ. It is a way of listening to the text of Scriptures as if we were in conversation with Christ and He were suggesting the topics of conversation. The daily encounter with Christ and reflection on His Word leads beyond mere acquaintanceship to an attitude of friendship, trust, and love. Conversation simplifies and gives way to communing. Gregory the Great (6th century) in summarizing the Christian contemplative tradition expressed it as "Resting in God". This was the classical meaning of Contemplative Prayer in the Christian Tradition for the first sixteen centuries.
The Monastic form of Lectio Divina is an ancient method that was practiced by the Mothers and Fathers of the Desert and later in Monasteries both East and West. The Monastic way is unstructured. One listens to the Word of God in a particular passage chosen for the occasion and then one follows the attraction of the Spirit. This method can also be prayed in a group.
Moment One : (Lectio) Read the Scripture passage for the first time. Listen with the "Ear of your heart." What phrase, sentence or even one word stands out to you ? Begin to repeat that phrase, sentence or one word over and over, allowing it to settle deeply in your heart. Simply return to the repetition of the phrase, sentence or one word, savoring it in your heart.
Moment Three : (Oratio) Respond spontaneously as you continue to listen to a phrase, sentence or word. A prayer of praise, thanksgiving or petition may arise. Offer that prayer, and then return to repeating the word in your heart.
The Method of Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina is the most traditional way of cultivating friendship with Christ.
Growing in relationship with God is a process like any other relationship. We need to begin by listening and entering into dialogue with God's Word. As the dialogue unfolds we will discover different ways of being in relationship: different moments of being with God.
This way of practicing Lectio Divina developed in the Middle Ages at the beginning of the Scholastic Period. At this time, there began a tendency to compartmentalize the spiritual life. As this tendency grew, the emphasis was placed more upon rational analysis and less on personal experience. The scholastic form divides the process into stages or steps in a hierarchical pattern. The scholastic method is a good way to learn Lectio Divina whether privately or in a group.
Step One: Read the passage, encouraging everyone to listen with the "ear of the heart." What phrase, sentence or even one word stands out to you?
Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer are two distinct prayer forms. Lectio Divina is a reading, reflecting, responding and resting in the Word of God that helps one grow in relationship with God.
Bible Study is the reading of the Scriptures for information and an understanding of the context of the passage. It provides a solid conceptual background for the practice of Lectio Divina.
Becoming a Word of God
Being transformed into the Word of God
CENTERING PRAYER KUALA LUMPUR CHAPTER
c/o Church of The Good Shepherd
No. 8, Jalan Air Puteh, Setapak
53200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel/Fax : 603-40234786
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