Rediscovering Lectio Divina - Medium.pdf

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Rediscovering Lectio Divina - Medium.pdf

This document can be downloaded from www.chch.catholic.org.nz/karlschultzCutting Edge Catholic Spirituality From Ancient TimesRediscovering Lectio Divina (Holistic Spiritual Reading)Karl A. SchultzSince Vatican II, there has been a rediscovery among both religious and laypersons of anancient model for holistically praying Scripture known as lectio divina or divine reading. It is aholistic, organic, and fluid way of prayerfully engaging the Bible and other manifestations ofGod’s initiative in life (divine signs or providence).Foundational QualitiesConsideration of lectio’s components and applications (discussed below) reveal that it isthe foundation of Catholic and biblical spirituality as well the New Evangelization, for at essenceit is a model of communication and transformation. It is also a dynamic process for fulfilling thetwo great commandments, love of God, neighbor, and self. It engages the whole person in loveof God and as a practical communication process invariably leads us into deeper contact with ourtrue self and our neighbor.Lectio’s Long HistoryLectio divina is rooted in principles used by the ancient Hebrews to compile, interpret,and reflect upon the Old Testament and the accompanying oral traditions. It was natural that theearly church would use inherited methods since the church grew out of Judaism, continued tointeract with the rabbis, and identified with their Hebrew ancestors (cf. Heb 11).Components of Lectio DivinaLectio divina is commonly described as being composed of five stages: reading/listening,meditation, prayer, contemplation, and action. Lectio divina’s dynamic activities and holistic1


This document can be downloaded from www.chch.catholic.org.nz/karlschultzThe Dynamism of Lectio DivinaLectio divina is a dynamic, ongoing practice. I don't need to wait until my prayer time toengage in the activities of lectio divina. God is always taking the initiative with us, if only we areopen and responsive. The following are a sample of daily opportunities for holisticallyexperiencing God's word: relating openly with another person, experiencing some aspect ofnature, and reflecting or journaling on God's involvement in my day.The fundamental attribute of lectio divina is its Spirit-driven nature. There are no rigidrules or compulsive techniques. Just as human intimacy must be natural and dialogical, sointimacy with God must flow freely and peacefully. We begin by acknowledging that we do notknow how to pray, and thereby invite the Spirit to intercede for us (cf. Rom 8:26-27). Wedevelop the habit of trusting God at the controls without abandoning our responsibilities.Applications of Lectio DivinaAs a model of communications and potential fulfillment, lectio divina has applications tosuffering, care-giving, time and stress management, journaling, and gender vocations andrelationships. Although I have published books on each of these subjects, I frequently remindreaders and workshop participants that the activities of lectio divina are so natural, intuitive,reflexive, and ingrained that each of us have already practiced it in some form, and thus formaleducation and formation on it must always be considered secondary and supplementary ratherthan primary. That is, while it’s helpful to learn and dialogue about lectio, there is no substitutefor practicing it yourself, and learning through experience and direct encounter with our primaryinstructor, the Holy Spirit.So, what is stopping us? Let us open up our Bible, eyes, and heart, and let God’s wordtake root in us and bear fruit in our disposition, actions, and relationships.3


This document can be downloaded from www.chch.catholic.org.nz/karlschultzKarl A. Schultz is the director of Genesis Personal Development Center in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania. He is one of the world’s most prolific speakers and writers on lectio divina. Hehas written twelve books on lectio divina and its various applications. His website iskarlaschultz.com, and he can be contacted at karlaschultz@juno.com.4

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