Meditation is considered the art of stilling mind and body. In order to achieve the proper stance of meditation, you need to focus your mind on a single point. Singleness of mind is how mind, body, and soul harmoniously unite. Then God's door will open revealing blissful peace in an ocean of tranquility and serenity. In our search for the meditative practice that brings the mind to the shores of God we come across Lectio Divina.
The lectio divina is a traditional Christian meditation considered by most to be slightly more involving than the common contemplative prayer. Most people are not properly versed how this type of meditation works, and how they can make it work for themselves on a daily basis. Moving on, let us talk about some of the most important aspects related to this style of meditation.
What is the Lectio Divina?
This is one of the older forms of Christian meditation, not as old as Orthodoxy, but old enough to prove it worth over centuries. The words are Latin for “Divine Reading”. In its tradition one would encounter God with the divine reading of scripture. The reading of scripture takes on the form of a dialogue with God. In other words, this meditation technique directs us to pray, or chant, Bible verses. This is solely done in God’s presence, in order to benefit our spiritual growth, faith, and character. Thus, it means that reading is a practice which goes hand-in-hand with prayer, for example when we are reading the Bible, we must be praying to our God scripture we read.
The Challenge of Lectio Divina
In today’s age and time, the problem with the most Church folks is that they have the wrong version of lectio divina in mind. Most people think that it is a way of reading the Bible, or written scripture, and then waiting for God to speak. This is completely opposite to what this type of meditation really is. As in most cases, your will, or your desires, might be what is heard, rather than God's voice.
The reason behind this is that the mind needs to be led, or trained, beyond normal thought. Reading, chanting, or praying the holy scriptures, is how we rid the mind of secular thought and implant biblical thought.
The technique has a way of clearing unnecessary, unwanted, metal disturbances by making the Word it's thought leader. This is how one begins to climb the ladder of divine ascent. The more lectio divina is practiced both in frequency and duration the more we become vessels of the Word.
Practicing the Lectio Divina Meditation
To begin, you will need a quite location where you can connect with the Spirit and His work in you. The idea is to have an open heart and mind, be attentive and to start with a plan to succeed. The place you select may contain a comfortable chair that supports your back upright, a table, good lighting, and of course a Bible. You also include items that invoke peaceful thoughts, like candles, crosses, or images of Jesus.
In order to gain the maximum out of your meditation, make sure to go slow at first. Rushing through paragraphs will not reap into a spiritual experience with God. In addition, reading for the sake of reading will not deposit wisdom into the heart, so it will have little or no impact if you rush.
Make sure to read one paragraph at most, and then read it for four times at least. However, if you have an aim of reading a larger passage, you may do so, just make sure that you reflect and ponder as you read. Try this for 10 or 20 minutes for 2 weeks. Then gradually increase your time to 25 or 30 minutes for another 2 weeks. Then go for 40 or 45 minutes for another 2 weeks. Your aim should to prayerfully recite entire chapters of the Bible for an hour or more.
Some of the most target chapters of the Bible to recited by Christian monks are the Psalms. The book of Psalms provide small chapters that can contain highly inspired messages and can easily be recited.
As you read through the passages, make sure to respectfully pray the passages. You must begin with reverence, and then engage with your entire heart, and then “pray” the Word as if the Word was alive in you. That's what lectio divina is all about. The practice will create a sense of peace in you as you go through the the sentences of the Bible. Reciting God's word will illuminate your heart and mind.
With enough practice scripture will guard and guide your mind in all situations, and the prayerful recitations will adorn your spiritual body.
During the recitation stage, you need to be more attentive as you need to ponder on the meaning of what you read. With your attention directed towards Christ you may sing, or chant, the meaning of His word. The goal of the technique is to focus all your attention on God and not yourself. In doing this, you eliminate the sense of ego while opening the door to God.
How Lectio Divina Enriches Life
In today’s age and time, our will and desires can pull us in many different directions. Lectio divina provides us with Bible centered direction. It keeps our mind focused and alert to God. Biblical chants, or recitations, can and will affect how we think, speak, and act. Over time this method will enrich your mind with biblical passages, and anyone who “keeps” God's word will enjoy an increase of His presence. (John 14:21)
Without God's manifest word within us it's difficult to convey God's message to others, so we fall short of God's command to make disciples of the nations. Beyond the increased presence of God, and the improved ability to communicate with others the good news, there is blessing. It stands to reason that if the presence of God increases is within us, it will will affect who we are, our bodies, our lives, our relationships, and our opportunities to serve God.
The Bottom Line
Through the Christian meditation techniques of contemplative recitation and lectio divina, most people should expect increasing exposure to the Father which will produce wholesome changes to one’s spirit, mind, and body.
Unruly passions will weaken and healthy god given impulses will be strengthened. Then God's light will rise over the horizon of the soul with wisdom, love, and compassion – the best way we can fulfill God’s will on earth. Hence, lectio divina is mental and spiritual practice that guides and leads us in the perfect Spirit of God.
We'd love to hear from you. Have you to tried lectio divina? Do you know someone who practices it? Please enter your comments below. We love you and we're praying for you.