Lectio divina

The four steps of lectio divina - lectio, meditatio, oratio, contemplatio - represent the progressive deepening of our understanding of the Biblical text. Our act of reading becomes an encounter with the living Lord, dialogue with him, and the exposure of our life to the light of Christ, who gives order to our existence. The process lectio divina sets in motion is a very human one: by listening we come to know, and by knowing we come to love. We begin by making the effort of ‘leaving ourselves’ in order to bridge the chronological and cultural distance that separates us from the text: this allows us to accept the text in its otherness, as we would in any relationship with an other. During the next step, meditatio, we deepen our understanding of the text, search for its central message, and let the face of Christ emerge from the Biblical page. In oratio, we apply the message that has come forth to our own life, considering our life in the light of the Biblical message. Oratio is a response to the Word in the form of prayer, and it is also the moment in which we accept responsibility for the Word we have heard. Prayer and life take place on the same level; ethics and faith are not separate but intrinsically connected. In lectio divina, the Bible’s dialogical intention meets the dialogical dimension of the person, which is a fundamental aspect of our human identity. The effectiveness of the Word of God contained in the Bible is revealed on the level of being, through who we are, much more and much sooner than it is revealed through our actions.