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During this pandemic, your prayer life — among other things — may have been disrupted. We’ve had to find different ways of praying without in-person community to support our faith life. The traditional monastic practice of Lectio Divina is a good way to help us deal with stress and provide a way to enter into sacred Scripture as a living word for our time.

The focus of Lectio Divina is not a critical analysis of sacred text, but rather a more personal way of experiencing the word through contemplation and reflection. The constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council recommended the practice of Lectio Divina for the faithful and was later affirmed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Although any scripture passage can be used, Lectio is an excellent way of preparing for the Sunday proclamation of the Gospel.

The traditional practice of Lectio Divina has 4 parts: Lectio (read), Meditatio (meditate), Oratio (pray) and Contemplatio (contemplate). As the scripture text is read multiple times, it allows us to go deeper and deeper into the text.

To pray Lectio Divina, you will need a copy of Scripture. A pen and a notebook are also helpful to write down your thoughts, reflections and prayers. Find a place that is free from distractions. This prayer usually takes about half an hour.

Begin by quieting yourself and becoming aware of your breathing. Let go of the concerns of the day and invite the Holy Spirit to guide your reflection. You may want to repeat the verse from Psalm 46:10 over and over again: “Be still and know I am God.”

Lectio (read)

In this first step, read the selected Scripture passage aloud slowly and intentionally. Use your imagination to place yourself into the story. Pretend that you are in the story. What do you see and feel? What are you experiencing? Take some time to pause and reflect on the experience. You may want to write down your reflections.

Meditatio (meditate)

Read the passage aloud slowly again and open yourself to the Holy Spirit as you ponder the text. Pay attention to the word or phrase that strikes you. You may want to underline or circle it. How is God speaking to you in this word or phrase? Take some time again to reflect and write down your thoughts.

Oratio (pray)

Read the passage aloud slowly once again and let the words be your prayer, allow the words to be a response to God for the particular situations in your life. Pause again. You can write your own prayer to the Father.

Contemplatio (contemplation)

Read the prayer aloud slowly one final time. Listen to the words and rest in the love of God. Contemplative prayer leads us into silence so that we can listen to what God is saying.

You may want to end the prayer experience of Lectio Divina with your own prayer of praise and thanksgiving followed by an Our Father, Hail Mary and a Glory Be.

Contemplating God’s word through Lectio Divina lets the Holy Spirit inspire and guide us each day. The life of Jesus can speak to the situations in our own lives, both joyous and challenging. Taking time to read and reflect on the daily readings, especially the upcoming Sunday Gospel is a way to encounter Jesus anew, grow daily as his disciples and witness to his love and mercy.

Join others across the Archdiocese of Detroit in a virtual experience of Lectio Divina on Thursdays when prayer leaders of the Archdiocese of Detroit will guide you through a 30 minute session to meditate on the upcoming Sunday Gospel. Visit the Archdiocese of Detroit Events calendar where you will see the listing. Click on one of the Lectio Divina entries to be directed to the sign-in link for the session you choose — 7:00 AM, 12 Noon, or 7:00 PM. Have your Bible or daily Gospel reading resource available for the session. We hope you can join us!