I’m hard at work on the next chapter of the dissertation, focusing on lectio divina (divine reading). Here are some highlights from my reading:
[Lectio divina] is, above all, a daily, personal, intimate contact with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, a contact with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Brother, which takes place in Holy Scripture. As its name indicates, it is “reading God.” [It is a] reading with faith–God speaks, God speaks to me here and now–and with great attention; a slow, meditative, savored reading; a reading that seeks primarily the literal and precise meaning of the text in order then to seek and discover what the Spirit of God deigns to manifest to the readers; a reading so active that it engages the entire person; yet at the same time, it is passive, that is to say, a reading in which we (the readers) permits ourselves to be influenced by the Word of God who speaks to us personally, who speaks intimately heart to heart; a reading made in the bosom of the Church, the body of Christ, “with the loving eyes of a spouse”; an assiduous reading made every day without exception; disinterested reading, [meaning] to read for the sake of reading and not for having read, reading in which we seek nothing else than the reading itself.—-Garcia M Colombas, Reading God
From the quality time with the Word required by lectio divina one learns “reading” as a way of life, not just an exercise for a set number of minutes each day. Becoming adept at lectio is like mastering a language. It opens up communication with an even larger world. Reading the Scriptures is a springboard to reading the larger world that surrounds us. For while the scriptural texts are the first material of, or prime matter for, lectio, reading them trains people to read the other texts life provides. The God who speaks in the Scriptures speaks in human experience as well. Lectio that begins with the Scriptures speaks in human experience as well.–Raymond Studzinski, Reading to Live: The Evolving Practice of Lectio Divina
[In practicing lectio divina,] we tend at the same time to rediscover the value of the otium (leisure) of the cloister, that is, the importance of “free time” to dedicate to God and affairs of the soul…We need to react valiantly against anxiety, against the inordinate urge to produce, against the habits which our consumer society imposes on us and which oblige us to devote extraordinary hours…to mental or physical labor. It seems indispensable that in the daily monastic horarium (a schedule of work, prayer, and free time), leisure must be allowed for slow… reading, penetrated by prayer.–Garcia M Colombas, Reading God
And for another Friday literary bouquet, join Kimberlee Conway Ireton.
Photos: St John the Evangelist Monastery library, Cambridge; Proverbs 31; a Wordle of my dissertation prospectus