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What Texts to Use With Lectio Divina
Q: I've been listening to The Spiritual Journey on CD's and watching DVD's to become thoroughly familiar with Centering Prayer. I am praying Lectio Divina, per Fr. Keating's guidelines of the 4 R's (Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest). Is Lectio [used with] only the four Gospels, or does it include all of Sacred Scripture? Sometimes I am greatly attracted to an Old Testament reading or one of the writings of St. Paul and wondered if those texts are part of Lectio.
A: I am so happy that you are making time to be grounded in the message of the Spiritual Journey series. In fact, at the Contemplative Outreach conference last month in Denver, one of the speakers commented that Fr. Keating believes we should pause and get back to basics. With this intention, there are plans to create an online course for next year based on the Spiritual Journey series.
To answer your question, the Lectio Divina method of prayer applies to all of the Bible – and beyond. The 4 R's (Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest) open us to ever-richer levels of understanding of the word, which in turn deepens our existing relationship with our God.
I have found that no matter what passage I read that if I linger and “hang out” with it, new heart-meanings arise.
For example, recently I was preparing my sermon on the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, and all of a sudden these words of Jesus to the disciples jumped out at me: “How foolish you are and how slow of heart.” How many times I have read the story and never heard these words? Jesus’ message to me and to them was, “For God’s sake, get out of your head and into your heart - that is where the action is!”
Keep faithful to your practice. Lectio Divina is a wonderful complement to your Centering Prayer practice. They are companions on your way to Emmaus. -Blessings, Fr Carl