I. LECTIO DIVINA IN GENERAL
1. STATIO (Preparation)
Getting the body and spirit ready. Body posture and composure. Ceasing the occupation or activity one was engaged in. Looking for a place. Asking God’s help.
• I lovingly take up the Book. I hold it in my hands like a precious treasure. I raise it to my lips. I kiss it. The body, in direct contact with the Book, says: I am here.
• With a clean heart and with humility, I invoke the Spirit; I ask the Spirit to make His gifts present (understanding, wisdom, counsel, etc.).
2. LECTIO (Reading)
A calm reading, unhurried. Paying attention to the context, to references, to parallel texts. Rereading, trying to understand all the nuances in what I am reading. Seeking to capture the meaning.
• I caress every word. I lovingly gaze on every sentence. I linger in every corner of the text. I read. I reread. I highlight or write down a word.
• Suggestion 1: basic questions when reading: What is the text saying? Who are the protagonists? What are they doing? Who is speaking and to whom? What sees to be the basic act or expression?
• Suggestion 2: basic techniques that may be used
– memorizing the text; learning it by heart either totally or partially;
– writing down the text; with good penmanship; in calligraphy or with illuminations;
– compare different versions (with some other Bible);
– read not only with the mind, but with the lips: loudly, softly, whispering, proclaiming, etc.
3. MEDITATIO (Meditation)
A calm meditation follows the reading that has been done. The words read are now treasured in the heart in order to be illuminated by the Spirit. In order to succeed now in connecting with the central or global message of the Word. With the core of the scriptural message.
• I recall the words or actions that attracted my greatest attention: What do they mean for me? How do they impact on me?
• I internalize or ruminate on the words or actions; from my mind they pass into my heart and take up residence there: What do I feel? How do I feel?
• I look at my life and life in general, at my history and history in general, in light of that Word: What does it suggest to me? What enlightenment does it provide? What does it demand of me?
4. ORATIO (Prayer)
Prayer springs from the meditation. From receiving the Word comes dialogue as a response to the Lord who has spoken
• I have meditated on the text. Now I pray out of the text that has been given to me. It takes on flesh: I ask forgiveness, or I ask and intercede, or I praise and give thanks, or I offer myself and dedicate myself, etc.
5. CONTEMPLATIO (Contemplation)
Prayer flows into contemplation. My attention and gaze passes now from the Word that I have read, meditated on and prayed out of to the One who is speaking to me.
• I stop thinking with my head. I stop speaking with my heart. I give space to the Spirit so that the Spirit may adore, praise and glorify in me. I lay my whole life open to the Word. It floods me. I drown in it. I keep silent or I sing. I fall prostrate or I dance. I adore. I cry. I am amazed. There I am being clothed in Jesus, configured to Him; I am being made a new creature…
6. DISCRETIO (Discernment)
This step has been going on all through the process of reading, listening, meditating and contemplating. Discernment. Choosing according to Christ, like Christ. Concretizing God’s will.
• Now I recall, as light and power, the One I have seen with greater clarity and in what direction He is pushing me. How to respond to what God wants of me, here and now; to what the Spirit, through this Word, asks of me today, in the concrete situation in which I am living.
7. COLLATIO (Communicating to Others)
The time of responding to the Word may be shared with others, with one’s brothers or sisters. It is possible to do a personal and a community lectio. The first steps of the lectio can be done in private (with each individual using the same text), followed by a gathering together.
• I bring the resonances the Word has aroused in me. In a climate of prayer. Without lectures or dissertations. As an exchange of life events and experiences (bringing it to the assembly in writing may be helpful).
8. ACTIO (Response)
The Word, listened to in a faith context and with faith, little by little, conforms us to the image and likeness of Christ. When the Word dwells within us, it also shapes us to be a word, a sign, an expression of the love and communication of God.
The Word seizes us from within. Read, meditated on, prayed over and contemplated, it impels us and makes us continually connect it with everyday reality in order to live it, bear witness to it and proclaim it.
• I offer to others, day in and day out, the living water that goes on transforming me; my own life as proclamation, with words and actions.
II. LECTIO DIVINA IN A CLARETIAN PERSPECTIVE
1. In a Claretian and present day context, Lectio Divina makes us “to be about the Father’s business” (Lk. 2:49) and to make those things our own. Out of this comes prophecy (proclamation and condemnation) as a response in a world that seems to be so little the way God wants it to be.
Here is one of the texts that clearly illustrate some of the elements of Lectio Divina in Claret:
“[Jesus] is not only a teacher, but a model and example, since he does what he later teaches. And the eternal Father says to each of us: Look, and act in accord with the example that is shown to you. Look at Jesus on Mount Calvary, nailed to the Cross and copy Him yourself, in such a way that you can say: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, so that you can go forth as a perfect disciple and can say with your conduct what the Apostle says: Imitatores mei estote, sicut et ego Christi (Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ). Every day the priest will study the reading, that is, he will read a chapter, at least, of the Holy Gospel and will attend the class that is meditation. He will also spend an hour a day, or at least a half hour, meditating on the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ.”
2. Thus, one can see the following steps:
• Lectio. Each day he will study the reading, i.e., he will read a chapter (at least) of the holy Gospel.
• Meditatio. He will attend the class that is meditation.
• Contemplatio. The goal of the process is acquiring the mind and attitudes of Jesus. He will gaze on Jesus… and will copy Him in himself so that he can say: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
3. This way of praying is incarnated in his well-known apostolic prayer: