'I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime.'
-Pope Benedict XVI, Address, September 16, 2005
Lectio Divina is Latin for “sacred reading.” It is ancient tradition of Christian prayer. Lectio Divina is an art that teaches us how to pray with Sacred Scripture. It’s learning to hear God through His Word.
Lectio Divina is really simple. Select a Scripture passage to pray with (such as the Gospel reading for Mass or one of your favorite Scripture verses / parables).
Read the passage once. Get familiar with the text, the words, etc.
Slowly read the passage a second time. Pay attention to how you feel as you read. Pay attention to which words “strike” you.
Slowly …slowly …slowly read the passage a third time. God will allow a word or a phrase to grab your attention.
Sit with the word or phrase. What is God saying to you as you’re praying?
ARRR stands for – Acknowledge, Relate, Receive, Respond.
You’ve sat with God’s Word in Lectio Divina. Now, once you feel God is saying something to you, acknowledge what stirs within you. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and desires. These are really, really important.
Once you’ve acknowledged what’s going on inside your heart, relate that to God. Don’t just think about it. Don’t just think about God. Don’t’ just think about how God might react. Relate to God. Tell Him how you feel. Tell Him what you think. Tell Him what you want. Share all your thoughts, feelings, and desires with God. Share everything with Him.
Once you’ve shared everything with God, receive. Listen to what He’s telling you. Could be a subtle voice you hear. Could be a memory that pops up. Maybe He invites you to re-read the Scripture passage. Perhaps you feel something in your body. Perhaps he invites you into a still, restful, silence. Trust that God is listening to you and receive what He wants to share with you.
Now respond however you want. It could be more conversation; could be a resolution; could be tears or laughter. Could be thanksgiving, or a song of praise welling up in your heart. Respond to what you’re receiving.
Finally, journal. Keep a record of what your prayer is like. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering, it could be a sentence or two about what God told you or how the Scripture passage struck you. Regardless of how you do it – journal.
ARRR is articulated by the Institute for Priestly Formation. Omaha, NE.