There are three primary sources of spiritual or sacred reading. One is Holy Scripture. A second source involves spiritual classics. This would include the Imitation of Christ, Introduction to the Devout Life (deSales), and Story of a Soul (The Little Flower). A third source is good contemporary spiritual books. This would include works by authors such as Henri Nouwen, Pope Francis, Max Lucado, and Benedict Groschel.
Once you have examined the steps of Lectio Divina, it is important to learn how to read the Bible using the following method. The steps are: BE STILL – Find a quiet, private place. READ – Select a few lines from scripture or a spiritual book on which to reflect. MEDITATE – What catches your attention? Focus on the words and images. What sticks out to you? PRAY – How does your meditation relate to your life? Talk with God about the issues you identify. CONTEMPLATE – Savor being in the presence of God. Stay with God and allow Him to search your heart. ACT – Make a plan of action in response to what God has spoken to you.
There are many good resources on Lectio Divina. They offer additional insights and approaches to Lectio Divina. Go to google.com and search for Lectio Divina. There are a plethora of citations you can explore. SOULSHEPHERDING.ORG provides the following Guide by Bill Gaultiere:
Hearing God’s voice with confidence takes practice. A great way to learn is through Lectio Divina. This is a method of Scripture meditation developed by Benedict in the sixth century. Three times we read the Bible passage. Then pray or journal quietly for a few minutes to help us listen to the Spirit. Each reading is guided by a focus question (listed below).
In a group context, one can follow a leader’s instructions to know when you can share your responses. Be sure to protect people’s confidentiality.
1. Introduction to the Text – In our personal life and our work we have a variety of needs and challenges. Who will we listen to? Who will we trust? David turned to the Lord God as his shepherd. We see this in his psalms. Psalm 23 especially uses the analogy of a shepherd caring for and guiding his sheep on our journey. God shepherds us in many ways. God particularly guides through his Word, providential circumstances, and godly people. Psalm 23 helps us look to the Lord in every situation we face.
2. Reading Psalm 23:1-6: 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He [guides] me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (NKJV).
3. Prayer / Journaling / Soul Talk Prompts
1. What is one word or phrase the Holy Spirit impresses on you? In silence meditate on that.
2. What do you feel? What specific situation in your life today relates? Write down a prayer or pray quietly.
3. What is the Lord’s personal invitation to you from the Scripture? You can write down what your Good Shepherd may be saying to you or a prayer of thanks. Or simply rest quietly in the Spirit’s presence.
Blessings and Peace to you as we journey together in Encountering Christ in Word, Liturgy, Charity, and Community. From… A Sojourner.