Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lectio Divina

I have been introduced to the practice of Buddhist meditation for almost a year now. All I can say is that it is really effective. It reduces stress, improves my sleep, makes me feel better, and generally makes me happier and have a positive outlook in life. One thing that somehow bothered me was that, Buddhist meditation had contradicting ideas in what I believed in - belief in God. Belief in God was something that Buddhism does not give emphasis on. Because of this, I Google searched on Christian ways of meditation. Eventually, I came across "Lectio Divina" - a Christian practice which leads to a deeper knowledge of oneself, and at the same time, scripture, others and God.

Lectio Divina, Latin for "divine reading", is a Christian practice of scriptural reading, prayer, meditation, and contemplation. It is performed by reading certain passages or chapters from the bible and reflecting on its message and meaning.

Lectio Divina progresses from Bible reading, to meditation, to prayer, and then to contemplation. In Latin, these are lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio respectively.

Lectio Divina is practiced daily for an hour or may be practiced by dividing it into two smaller periods, one after waking up and one before sleeping. It is recommended that a specific time is set so that it easily becomes a daily habit. A quiet time and place should also be considered so that distractions may be avoided.

How to perform Lectio Divina


Before starting the Lectio, it is recommended to be in a relaxed and contemplative state of mind. To do this, get yourself in a comfortable position, either sitting on a chair, kneeling down, or sitting on a cross-legged position, and take a few deep long breaths. Keep your eyes closed; stay relaxed and silent for a few minutes. Start with a prayer asking for God's guidance throughout the Lectio.

Bible Reading

Start by, choosing a particular passage, verse, or chapter that you wish to read from the bible. The bible passage may be of your choice or may come from readings from the daily Eucharistic liturgy. Read the text slowly and attentively, focusing and understanding each line and phrase carefully. Write down notes or lines from the passage that may have an impact to you. You may read the bible passage several times until the meaning of the text is clear and better understood.


If you have memorized or taken down notes, take those words or phrases from the text and meditate on it. Try to understand the essence and meaning of God's message. Meditate on the text and imagine God speaking and giving the message to you.


After meditating on the reading, a prayer is then made as a response. This prayer is our conversation with God - a loving dialogue with the one who has created us and loves us. During the prayer, ask God's guidance in helping us accept and apply the message that we have meditated on so that we may change our selves and become the person whom he wants us to be.


Finally, contemplate by sitting quietly, letting your thoughts drift away, and feeling God's presence and love, for at least ten minutes. The Christian practice called "centering prayer", similar to the meditation practices by Buddhists, can also be done. The purpose of centering prayer is to focus on the inner presence of God by simply clearing the mind of rational thoughts. To do this, choose a sacred word such as "God" and focus on it. Whenever your mind becomes aware of any other thoughts, simply return to that sacred word. With constant practice, freeing your mind from any distractions becomes easier.

Lectio Divina is an intimate talk with God, where reading and meditating is like hearing what God is trying to say to us. Our response is then made through our prayer. Finally, accepting God's love and presence through contemplation.

Use Lectio Divina as a way of learning about God's word, so that we gain better knowledge of ourselves, others, and God. Also, just like the Buddhist practices of meditation, we become happier and more enlightened individuals.

- Steve's Zushi -

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