Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cantio Dei! + weekly Q&A+Lectio divina

Welcome new blog follower Cantio Dei! That is a really cool user name, although I can only guess at what it means. I sing of God, perhaps?  My Latin is pretty awful: lots of  vocabulary but virtually no grasp of case or tense.

Speaking of Latin terms, are any of you practioners of Lectio Divina? The way I understand it--which is at a very, very basic level, it's a prayerful method of spiritual reading, wherein you take a short passage of scripture (or some other spiritual work), and do the following:
1. read it! (duh)
2. think about it, especially about how it applies to you: What is God possibly telling me here?
3. Pray--talk to God about what you noticed in step 2.
4. Contemplate--stop talking and just rest in whatever truth,goodness, beauty and love have been revealed in steps 1-3.

Now, I don't tend to do a lot of Lectio Divina, because I have a hard time reading only a short passage. I feel psychologically driven to complete a chapter or other major chunk of whatever it is I"m reading. But it dawned on me today that the readings for morning, daytime, and evening prayer are teenie-tiny little things. Unlike when I have an open Bible in my lap, there is no temptation to read the rest of the chapter, because it's not there! So when I have time, I now do a quick lectio divina exercise with these readings.

This morning for example, that little bit in 1 Peter about putting one's gifts to use according to the measure in which they were received--it gave me some lovely clarity about a project I'd been contemplating. It was great to relax and "contemplate" with gratitude, this little love note God had sent me.

Don't know how consistently I"ll stick with this new little wrinkle to my lauds and vespers routine, but I hope it lasts. It will put some new life into readings that I've eyeballed thousands of times over the years.

Now, please, don't one of you experts in contemplative prayer tell me I"m doing this all wrong!

Okay, weekly Q&A/comment  time. Give it all you've got.


  1. Lectio Divino involves multiple readings of said passage, not just 1! read it 3 times..#1 just read it; #2, put yourself into the scene as one of the characters,not just watching from afar, #3 read it a 3rd time listening to what the Holy Spirit guides you to hear

  2. I have found that using a voice recorded message on my alarm (with snooze function) is wonderfully helpful. I record the message (the chosen scripture) as a substitute for the "buzzer"; set the time say 8:00 pm to 8:30; when it goes off I am reading and listening to the passage; it shuts off automatically for about 8 minutes. This gives time to brood over the passage. It goes off again in another 8 or 9 minutes - just about when I'm wandering in thought - and calls me back to the scripture. I listen to it again and let any new ideas/feeling/ etc percolate. When it's time to end I thank God for any ways my heart was touched, make an act of love and ask for help to put whatever came up into practice, and say the Glory Be as a closing prayer. I don't know if it's right, but it's been very helpful. Sometimes I use the scripture as a morning alarm, and wake up thinking again about what I learned or prayed over.

    1. Oh, it's wonderful to hear from you again, Franciscan Hobbit. I was wondering if you are still out there. (Your user name makes me smile whenever I think of it. I see Pippin or Merry in a brown habbit, hairy feet sticking out beneath.Also, I still remember you saying years ago that you prayed lauds on the subway-- or was it a bus?-- and added that idea in my book, about the liturgy rising up around the world from the vatican, from monasteries, from ordinary homes, and from mass transit vehicles.)
      Anyway, your idea is briliiant, and now I am wondering whether I can record my voice on my ipod touch and substitute a scripture verse for the church bells that I use as an alarm. Hope can.

    2. Thank you for your kind note : ) I do prefer to read quietly and be inspired. So much of my day is "craze-biz" and noise that this is a little pool of peace for me to come to. I'll try to put in a little more in the future.

  3. Daria,

    Long Time, no comment! I just wanted to tell you that Baronius Press has back in stock the 1960 Roman Breviary in Latin and English. It is especially useful for Lectio Divina, because, before every psalm, we have commentary on the psalm from Pius Parsch. This Breviary is also very useful for its superb brief history of the office and Parsch's explanation of the hours, plus his commentary explaining the theme of each hour and the theme of the day. Finally, these psalms are those of the Latin Vulgate, superbly translated - when you pray them, you actually are ecumenically closer to the Orthodox, as these psalms derive from the Septuagint text, and thus are very similar to what many Orthodox use. Also, I will have to send you pictures of my latest LOTH bound propers - one of the Jesuit/Oblates of Saint Joseph and the other the Little Office of Mary/Trinitarian Propers.

  4. Jim! How nice to hear from you. I didn't realize that the Baronius breviary had gone out of print, but am not surprised. I just checked their website. Wasn't the price of the first printing higher? I was imagining that it was something like $800, but maybe I'm confusing that with some other product. I wish the Pius Parsch commentaries were available in a freestanding volume. You note also reminds me that I'd better check Paulist Press to see if the 2014 ordo is ready.

  5. Thank you for raising the subject of Lection Divino. I enjoy the prayer so much to point of being conflicted. I have a limited time set aside for prayer and should it focus on the LOTH or Lection Divino. both are so rewarding. Of course easy answer is to simply add more time to my daily prayer life. Would love to but starting new habits is easier said than done.

  6. The four movements of Lectio Divina (lectio, meditatio, oratio and contemplation) are described in the Wikipedia article on Lectio Divina.

  7. May I suggest a book that I just finished that I thought was wonderful on the topic of Lectio Divina...:Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina With 500 Scripture Texts for Prayer by Thelma Hall, r.c.

    I highlighted most everything in this book! Would love to hear thoughts from others who may have read it.

  8. Our pastor gave a presentation at a recent Secular Franciscan meeting about Lectio Divina. He had it divided into a 6-day regimen using the next Sunday's Gospel.
    Monday: lectio
    Tuesday: meditatio
    Wednesday: oratio & contemplatio
    Thursday: studeo
    Friday: ludo
    Saturday: resolvo
    Sunday: hear the Gospel at Mass

    1. ludo? Where's my Latin dictionary when I need it?