READING & MEDITATING ON GOD’S WORD
One of the brothers at Glenstal Abbey describes reading Scripture as entering “the text of meeting”. He makes a useful play on the phrase “tent of meeting”. In the text, we are met and enter an encounter. I remember sitting at my kitchen table as a boy with a Bible and some Bible Reading Notes and being overwhelmed by the realisation that God was speaking, in and through these words.
In the monastic tradition, monks would often walk slowly in the cloisters, reading slowly and softly texts such as The Psalms. It has been described as “cradling the soul”, whereby the gentle movement and comforting words bring the soul to a place of comfort and rest, much as cradling a baby helps it to sleep. This is so much more than just a quick scan, or hearing it once a week. This is living by these words, and receiving them deep within, as seeds are received deep into the dark of the soil.
Let us look at Lectio Divina as a practice that can help us greatly.
CONNECTING WITH OURSELVES
Lectio Divina translates as sacred reading.
It is essentially a dialogue between ourselves and God, between His Word and our life experience.
Lectio Divina has been described as reading with the eyes of the heart.
A simple way of approaching it is to realise that we are in the presence of God.
Then we read slowly some few verses from Scripture to ourselves (and then together if not alone)…hearing it within, with our ears, and feeling it on our lips.
Next we ruminate (literally to chew it over)…again slowly so that a word, phrase or sentence may pop up like a cork in water. Stay with that word, or words.
We respond to this in prayer, a dialogue between ourselves and God.
Then the words pass away and we rest in his presence
and rejoice...before recollecting what has touched us before we go.
CONNECTING WITH GOD’S WORD
We can now do a little Lectio with verses from Psalm 5
Give ear to my words, O Lord;
give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house,
I will bow down towards your holy temple
in awe of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
Read it aloud.
Read it slowly.
Read it silently.
Let a verse, a phrase, a word, a thought, pop up like a cork in water.
Stay with the word, or words.
Let it connect with your felt experience.
Reflect on that.
Let your thoughts become a prayer.
Then let your prayer pass over into silence.
CONNECTING WITH THE SAINTS
“Whenever you read the Gospel, Christ Himself is speaking to you.
And while you read, you are praying and talking with Him.” Saint Tikhon
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be now and always pleasing in your sight O Lord our Rock and Redeemer.
Lord Jesus help us love as you have loved us, forgive as you forgive us,
and live what you teach.
Help us be still and know that you are God.
Help us listen to others with kindness.
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