Monasteries of the Heart

How to do lectio divina

Lectio Divina is Latin for spiritual or sacred reading. It is a simple method of praying the scripture that has deep roots in the Benedictine tradition.

You can begin lectio by reminding yourself of the presence of God with a short prayer, by lighting a candle, listening to a hymn…. Then pick up the scripture or any spiritual classic and slowly read or listen to the text. What is God saying to you through this text? (You can also “read” all of God’s texts — photos, art, nature, poetry, music and experiences in your life — using this method.)

After spending time with the text, respond by asking God to help you apply the reading to your life. You can converse with God mentally or by writing down your insights. Then end your lectio with a short prayer.

The practice can take 15 minutes or a lifetime. The idea behind lectio is a simple, but potent one: if you devote a few minutes each day to receiving God’s word your heart can change. The long-term hope is that each of us “become compassionate, as your God is compassionate.” (Lk. 6:29)