Private Prayer: Lectio Divina PDF Print E-mail

Lectio Divina (or "Divine reading") in its specific sense means a prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture. The monk listens carefully to the Word of God and tries to hear Jesus Christ speaking to him in his heart. When the resonance is heard, the monk dwells on the Word, ponders it, and turns it into prayer. The motivation for Lectio Divina is expressed in this prayer of Saint Bede the Venerable:

I pray you good Jesus that as you have given me the grace to drink in with joy the word that gives knowledge of you, so in your goodness you will grant me to come at length to yourself, the source of all wisdom, to stand before your face forever.

Lectio Divina is more broadly understood as any kind of prayerful spiritual reading. The Church's tradition has always held spiritual reading to be one of the great methods of advancement in the spiritual life and of growth in virtue. This reading could include texts of the Sacred Liturgy, theological works, commentaries on Scripture, and the lives and writings of the saints. The riches of twenty centuries of Catholic Tradition are infinitely deep. This type of Lectio Divina, whether on Sacred Scripture or on any spritual work, is required for at least half an hour each day for the monks of Saint Louis Abbey.