Pope Francis recently declared that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time — January 26 this year — should be celebrated as the Sunday of the Word of God. The pope highlighted the importance of lectio divina, or “divine reading,” an ancient practice of slowly and prayerfully reading the Bible. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
“It opens with the reading (lectio) of a text, which leads to a desire to understand its true content: What does the biblical text say in itself? Without this, there is always a risk that the text will become a pretext for never moving beyond our own ideas.”
“Next comes meditation (meditatio), which asks: What does the biblical text say to us? Here, each person, individually but also as a member of the community, must let himself or herself be moved and challenged.”
“Following this comes prayer (oratio), which asks the question: What do we say to the Lord in response to his word? Prayer, as petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise, is the primary way by which the word transforms us.”
“Finally, lectio divina concludes with contemplation (contemplatio), during which we take up, as a gift from God, his own way of seeing and judging reality, and ask ourselves: What conversion of mind, heart and life is the Lord asking of us?”
“We do well also to remember that the process of lectio divina is not concluded until it arrives at action (actio), which moves the believer to make his or her life a gift for others in charity.”
Source: Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini
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