Part 5: Lectio (Listening to God)

bench and water

Welcome to our Annual Summer Retreat, posted here as a mini-online retreat for you. As the woman at the well went at noon to be refreshed and gather water for the day, so we must return readily to our own Divine wellspring.  Our time together will provide an opportunity to drink fully from the well that is Benedictine Spirituality.

By Benedictine Sisters Mary Core and Stefanie MacDonald

When St. Benedict wrote his Rule 1500 years ago, he prescribed daily contemplative Scripture reading for his community. Lectio Divina. We still do it today. (Directions are below.)

Lectio Divina means, literally, sacred reading.

As Sister Catherine Cleary says, “Practicing Lectio will begin to change you. You’ll begin to absorb what you’re reading. You’ll begin to put on the heart and mind of Jesus. You’ll begin to act like what you’re reading.”

Reading, meditating on, praying with and allowing the Sacred Word of God to soak into us touches every aspect of our lives.

It calls us to listen and to focus on who we are called to be.

While Sacred Scripture is where we go each day to practice Lectio, we also encounter God in all of life, in nature, music, other people and all God’s creation.

As we become attentive listeners to God in the whole of our lives, we are drawn into the heart of God … where God writes on our own hearts … and our love affair blooms.

How to Practice Lectio Divina:

  1. Quiet yourself. You can begin with a simple word prayer, or breathing exercises. Open your Bible and read 2 or 3 lines slowly. In silence, let the words simply rest in you.
  2. Read the text again. This time, interact with it. Ponder it. Speak with God about it. Is there a word or phrase that speaks to you? What is it saying to you?
  3. Read the text again. This time, simply rest in the words. Thank God for being with you both in words and in silence.
  4. As you go through your day, continue to ponder the reading and what you experienced in it. It will, as Father Michael Casey, OSB writes, provide “a place to which we can return momentarily to center ourselves and, perhaps, find peace in the midst of busyness.”

Part 6: Finding Grace

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