1) Characteristics of lectio Divina:
a) alternating rhythm of reading (lectio) and prayer (oratio)
b) discovery of multiple, personal levels of meaning in Sacred Text (Jean Leclercq and monastic culture: The Love of Learning and the Desire for God).
c) Matter of lectio divina = Sacred Scripture or text that increases our desire to return to the Sacred Text
2) Lectio Divina as:
a) a bridge, a point of interconnection within the intertwined rhythms of monastic life.
b) a microcosm of the rhythms of liturgical prayer and monastic conversatio
3) Lectio Divina as a laboratory in which we learn how to contemplate God, ourselves, and one another.
4) Reading the Sacred Text;
Reading the Heart of the Other.
1. LECTIO DIVINA TODAY
POPE BENEDICT XVI
[Pope John Paul II in Novo Millennio Ineuente (39), wrote “that listening to the Word ofGod should become a life-giving encounter, in the ancient and ever-valid tradition of lectio divina.”]
1) 2005 Recommendation of practice of lectio divina in Address on Commemoration of Dei Verbum
2) 2007 Catechesis on Origen (2), May 2, 2007
3) 2008 Synod of Bishops devoted to a renewal of study and sharing of Sacred Scripture - Bishops began asking “What is lectio divina and how do we practice it?”
4) March 7, 2008, 3rd Lenten Sermon of Fr. Cantalamessa, Preacher of the Pontifical Household recommends and describes a method of lectio divina: “Be Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only”.
5) February 18, 2010: meeting with the parish priests of the Diocese of Rome at beginning of Lent during The Year of the Priest, address focused on meaning of priesthood: this address described in official transcription of address as “LECTIO DIVINA of HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI”
2. LECTIO DIVINA in the LIFE of the BENEDICTINE MONK
1) Texts from the Rule of Benedict
2) Integration into daily rhythm of prayer and annual cycle of commemoration / celebration
2.5. INTERLUDE: WHATEVER HAPPENED to LECTIO DIVINA?
1) Rise of “Spiritual Exercises” in Later Middle Ages - lectio divina as one of several kinds of ascetical practices. Increasing emphasis on sacramental and soteriological signficance of Passion and Death of Christ.
2) Gradual shift from spiritual exercises primarily based on scripture to prayerful reliving of significant faith experiences and reviving of fervor/zeal (e.g. Gertrude's “monastic-event” Exercitia Spiritualia)
3) Shift from liturgy- and lectio-based Exercises of Abbot Cisneros of Montserrat to liturgy-independent, directed DISCERNMENT-ORIENTED Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.
4) Slow recasting of monastic lectio divina in model derived from overwhelmingly popular Ignatian meditation-methods and variants thereof (Sulpician). Formal, specifically-focused (often on doctrine).
5) Recovery of older model of lectio divina consequence of 19th- and 20th- century emphasis on liturgy and sacred scripture as loci of both contemplation and catechesis. Emphasis on Paschal Mystery, embracing Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ
RHYTHMS of LECTIO DIVINA
1) Spiritual Activity and Receptivity; Action / Contemplation
2) Apophatic and Kataphatic prayer and experience
3) Spiritual Practices that emphasize aspects of a Spectrum
4. CYPRIAN of CARTHAGE and VATICAN II
1) The first witness to the widespread practice of lectio divina and its encouragement by the hierarchy
2) Cyprian's witness to the interconnectedness of lectio divina contemplation, spiritual progress, and poetry (precursor of the Veni Sancte Spiritus)
3) Vatican II: recommendation of lectio divina and link to development of doctrine
1) How can we teach lectio divina to non-monks?
2) The relationship between private and group lectio divina
3) Lectio on Life as an execise in prayer and consecration
6. THE ORIGINS of LECTIO DIVINA
1) Philo of Alexandria
2) Jewish Intertestamental / Apocalyptic Literature
3) Origen and spiritual exegesis
4) The desert fathers and mothers: The Life of Pelagia, Evagrius and Cassian
1) Benedict in his Rule; and the Life of Benedict by Gregory the Great
2) Gregory the Great on Images as Text
3) Hugh of St. Victor and Guigo II
4) St. Gertrude the Great
5) Jean Leclercq on Monastic Culture
6) David Stanley on lectio divina and exegesis
This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2004