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Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a Latin term that means "divine reading." It is a method for gradually letting go of our own agenda and opening ourselves to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk named Guigo described the stages that he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina.


The first stage is lectio (reading). Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks in. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should be short.


The second stage is meditatio (reflection). Think about the text you have chosen and dwell on it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.


The third stage is oratio (response). Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. Your reflection on the Word of God will inspire this response.


The final stage is contemplatio (rest). Let go of your own ideas, plans, and meditations and don’t feel compelled to have words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you through stillness and silence. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within. This transformation will have a profound effect on the way you actually live, and the way you live is the test of the authenticity of your prayer. You must take what you read in the Word of God out into your daily life.


These stages are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines to help you understand the way this kind of prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve and the Word is revealed before the eyes of our heart.


(Adapted from What is the Lectio Divina? in


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