Lectio Divina, literally meaning "divine reading," is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the "ear of the heart," as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one's relationship with the Divine.
Q: Recently I attended a poetry gathering … The young man who teaches poetry used Lectio Divina as a method to find interpretation of the poetry and called it that. If he had called it repetition and discernment, perhaps I would not have had difficulty with it. However, he did not use Scripture but secular poetry. I did some research on Lectio Divina and found that it is misused in many contexts and by different faith structures. Would you please comment on the use of 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.
Q: Recently, when I concluded my session of Centering Prayer and recited the Lord's Prayer, as is my custom, I was struck by the disparity between the Trinity in Whom and with Whom I had just been abiding, and the "God in heaven" who seemed to resume his cloak of an old white man on a throne far, far away. Am I taking the opening of the Lord's Prayer too literally?
A: Thank you for your question: Am I taking the opening of the Lord's Prayer too literally? You are bringing up a very insightful observation.
"The Lord said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?
Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord,
for the Lord is about to pass by.'"
- 1 Kings 19: 9,11
Q: I have been on many extended 8 - 10 retreats. On them I always have trouble going to sleep. The monkey mind is relentless! On my recent 10 day retreat at Snowmass, it got worse as the retreat progressed. And, I hiked 2+ hours every afternoon. At home I have no trouble sleeping. I generally need 9-10 hours of sleep. Any suggestions or perspective?
Q: I am hoping to get some direction for myself and a community I work with. I have schizo-affective mental illness, diagnosed when I was 28. I have had regular bouts with varying degrees of psychosis. Meds never controls that aspect of our lives completely. The group I work with has the same issues. We are hoping to find a safe and effective way to embrace silence and solitude for a part of our recovery process. The challenge for us is that stillness and quiet leads to very disturbin