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From the Rector/Catechesis, February 12, 2023, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lectio Divina: Praying with Scripture (especially for Lent)

From Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 87

87. I would like here to review the basic steps of [lectio divina]. It opens with the reading

(lectio) of a text, which leads to a desire to understand its true content: what does the biblical

text say in itself? Without this, there is always a risk that the text will become a pretext for

never moving beyond our own ideas. Next comes meditation (meditatio), which asks: what

does the biblical text say to us? Here, each person, individually but also as a member of the

community, must let himself or herself be moved and challenged. Following this comes

prayer (oratio), which asks the question: what do we say to the Lord in response to his word?

Prayer, as petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise, is the primary way by which the

word transforms us. Finally, lectio divina concludes with contemplation (contemplatio),

during which we take up, as a gift from God, his own way of seeing and judging reality, and

ask ourselves what conversion of mind, heart and life is the Lord asking of us? In the Letter to the

Romans, Saint Paul tells us: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the

renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and

acceptable and perfect” (12:2). Contemplation aims at creating within us a truly wise and

discerning vision of reality, as God sees it, and at forming within us “the mind of Christ” (1

Cor 2:16). The word of God appears here as a criterion for discernment: it is “living and

active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of

joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). We

do well also to remember that the process of lectio divina is not concluded until it arrives at

action (actio), which moves the believer to make his or her life a gift for others in charity.

We find the supreme synthesis and fulfilment of this process in the Mother of God. For

every member of the faithful Mary is the model of docile acceptance of God’s word, for she

“kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19; cf. 2:51); she discovered the

profound bond which unites, in God’s great plan, apparently disparate events, actions and things. 

This week’s talk recommended: Lectio Divina: Hearing God’s Voice Through Scripture by Dr. Tim Gray

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