Share your Lectio Divina experience

Dear Friends in Christ:

I just started Lectio Divina. I find it a very meaningful form of prayer. I’d love to hear about others’ experiences with this devotion.

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Have been doing "lectio Divina for years. Started as a teenager when I had a conversion after picking up a bible given to our family by a neighbor who was Jewish. Little did he know how my life changed because of his generosity.



Your conversion story is miraculous. After my evangelical upbringing, I was called to the Catholic Church. I realized how biblical the Mass is. I was received into the church in 1990. I was 29 at the time.

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Cradle Catholic here. I prayed to God to deepen my prayer life and without intending to I stumbled into the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Similar to Lectio Divina, with more emphasis on using the imagination to picture the scene. Totally changed my prayer life.

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I realized that in reading the Bible, I was doing so with my intellect. Suddenly, I was inspired to listen to God through the scriptures. What a revelation!


College spiritual advisor had me use Lectio Divinia as the first line when journalling. Starting with reading the book of Romans.
Most interesting thing to happen was a reflection of Christ walking on water and his call to Peter. We are called to look to Jesus, and not at the waves crashing about us during a storm.
The first time I took life saving classes was when I was 15. The technique has changed. The lifeguard now does place his/her face in the water, while keeping focus on the victim to be saved.
Reflecting on the scripture, I saw myself reaching back to the boat. The focus still remains, much like the story of Peter walking on the water must remain on Christ or we sink. But like Peter, who became a fisher of men, leading others to Christ, so too are we called to lead others to Christ.
Don’t let the waves, the events of today’s tumultuous world, overwhelm and distract.
Keep your focus on Christ, even as you reach back to lead others toward Him.

Lectio Divina, when we focus on a single scriptural passage is about allowing the scriptures to become part of who we are. It about the transformation, not simply memorization, of reading the long stories as important as it is to understand content. It may be a call to worry less like the birds of the air , for whom the Father provides all their needs, or to beware jealousy. God knows what our exact needs are on any given day. When combined with journalling, or even when not, it is important not to judge, where thoughts and/or writing take you.

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I’ve done it for three years and love it

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What a beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing! God bless you,

Can you explain a little bit what the difference is?

I ask because when I tried to do Lectio Divina, I didn’t find it any different than the previous 50 times I read or heard whatever Gospel reading it was.
I know not all forms of prayer work for everyone, but I am wondering if I missed something.

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Yesterday, I read the story of Mary and Martha in the Gospel of John. Martha went out to welcome Jesus but then got caught up in trying to serve the guests. Mary instead sat at the master’s feet.

I read the passage three or four times. Then I contemplated the scene and let the Lord tell me what I what I should learn. I saw is that it’s good to welcome the Lord as Martha did. But, like Mary, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus.

My plan of action is to welcome Jesus and keep my eyes fixed on him.

In my daily reading, I will spend about 15 minutes. This allows me to read 3 chapters of Scripture. I can read the 3 chapters like any ordinary book. I have read the Bible cover to cover several times, in different translations. The 3 chapters a day method, plus 5 on Sunday allows a person to read the Bible in one year.
St. Ignatius recommends putting yourself in the middle of the story. That’s what Njlisa describes when you put yourself in the middle of the story with Marth and Mary.
Lectio Divina is different. Lectio Divina, as practiced by Benedictine monks and others involves focusing on a single scripture verse.
I just turned to a page in my journal. “For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” [1Peter 2:15]. That single verse was the beginning of my journal entry for the day. A Benedictine monk might , instead of writing, meditate on the verse throughout the day. What does it mean? How does it apply to me?
I began by focusing on the truth that actions speak louder than words. When I write in my journal, I may bring in personal memories. How have my actions failed to express the truth of God’s love? What can I do to better express God’s love in my life? I am not saying that is what I wrote. It is simply a matter of how a Lectio Divina verse can lead a person’s meditation. Other scripture passages may come to mind as I write, that are directly or indirectly related to the passage that began my meditation.
The main idea of Lectio Divina is to return to the single verse. It is not a matter of reading so many chapters of the Bible, or of reading the Bible in a set amount of time. It is simply savoring that one bite, that single verse of Scripture.

Yes, the Ignatius method of entering into the Scripture is also an excellent way of reading God’s Word.

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Hello DebCWil,

May I please suggest that you are missing something very important, if you literally confine yourself to one-verse listing to the Holy Word. (Maybe I misunderstood you.) We can hardly hear what God means to say - which is the purpose of Lectio Divina - unless we truly listen to Him with full attention and devotion. This “fully listening” requires that we hear each and every verse in context.

And the “context” has layers (so to speak). Every verse is in a context of a paragraph, within a context of a “unit of communication” which may be several paragraphs - or a chapter - or several chapters: all of which open more and more to us, the meaning of that verse. God speaks not in single isolated proverbs, but in the ultimate context of all of salvation history. Particularly, for us Christians, He speaks in the context of the New Covenant - the New Testament as a whole, not excluding the Sacred Tradition of the obedient and listening Church.

Now, of course, we cannot pause and meditate on the whole of salvation history every time we want to pray! But we need to grow in the life of prayer - and this means, we need to build upon our prayer with ever-deepening embrace of the whole of our understanding (and obedience) of divine revelation. Scripture calls us to integrate the whole of God’s Word in our souls.

Thus as we grow in prayer, we will approach every verse in Scripture with a growing, deeper understanding of Him - and thus as we grow, year by precious year - we can hear and focus on more and more from Him, of Him, in Him. And that is very beautiful.

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I didn’t talk about my complete prayer life.
I think I did mention that I have read the Bible cover to cover several times. Part of my prayer life includes setting aside 15 minutes a day to read 3 chapters of scripture. That’s all it takes to read the Bible from cover to cover. I now read 2 or 3 chapters from the O.T. plus one from the N.T. on a daily basis. The New Testament fulfills the Old, and the Old Testament informs the New.
I am well aware of the importance of reading scripture within context. I also read the daily Mass readings since I am not in the position to attend daily Mass.
Lectio Divina is different. It involves slowly digesting God’s word. As mentioned in my first post on this thread, I worked with a spiritual advisor. I started with Romans. Read slowly until a single verse “hits” you. Gnaw on that single verse. That is what the Benedictine monks do throughout the day. They focus on that single verse.
As mentioned, my spiritual advisor had me use the single verse as a starting point for my journal. There is no judgment as to where the verse will take you.
It is the same thing I was told when on retreat, and given longer scriptural passages to read. Whatever I wrote, wherever my emotions or thoughts took me I was not to judge myself. I would come back and discuss my insights with the religious leading the retreat I was on, or with my spiritual director.

I enjoy beginning my day with prayer, with the Liturgy of the Hours, with the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer. As a cradle Catholic, the rosary was part of the fabric of my daily life from infancy. I am not going into the whole of my prayer life.
I did separate the difference between Lectio Divina and Ignatius Style reading of Scripture. Ignatius Style reading involves the imagination, actually entering into the Biblical scene. It does mean reading a longer passage of scripture, such as being in the house with Martha and Mary.

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