What is lectio divina?
The Catholic Church, in her recent assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” (October 5–26, 2008), has drawn our attention to the importance of using Scripture not just for reading, but also as a way of prayer.
Praying with Scripture is a very old practice. We see evidence of it in the Book of Psalms, where the Psalmist responds with a prayer of praise to his reading of the word of God:
"Your word, LORD, stands forever; it is firm as the heavens … How I love your teaching, Lord! I study it all day long … Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” (Psalm 119: 89, 97, 105)
Lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”) is a simple method of praying with Scripture. It was already known by the Church Fathers in the early days of the Church. Lectio divina was recommended by Saint Cyprian (a third-century bishop and martyr). It has been part of the prayer of Christians throughout the history of the Church. Monasteries kept the practice alive. Saint Benedict (480–547 A.D.) taught his monks to pray in this way 1500 years ago, and it is still a wonderful way to pray today.