Meditating on the Word of God
Lectio divina (Latin for “sacred reading”) is a special kind of meditation on the words of Scripture. Lectio divina has been esteemed by the Church for centuries as a form of prayer that yields many spiritual fruits. All of us have favorite passages in Scripture that we return to time and time again. Lectio divina is the practice of sustained reading of the Holy Scriptures in prayer, perhaps focusing on a particular passage, that enables the mind and heart to be drawn into the mysteries of God. Holding onto each word and allowing the mystery behind the words to be unveiled transforms this reading of Scripture into prayer.
Christ is the Word made Flesh (see John 1,14), and so the reading of Scripture draws us into a profound meditation on the mysteries of Christ. The knowledge of Christ gained through this type of prayer is of “surpassing worth” (Philippians 3,8) but, like all forms of Christian prayer, the purpose of lectio divina is not only knowledge but also union with Christ. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4,12). Lectio divina attests, more strongly than any other form of prayer, to the power of God’s Word to pierce into the mystery of the human soul and draw it into communion with Christ.