Image of Gutenberg Bible via WikipediaIn an earlier post - So what, exactly, is Meditation? - I talked about a way of differentiating two types of Christian meditation:
apophatic meditation which uses no content - it involves emptying ourselves of images, ideas and sensations; and kataphatic meditation which uses images - symbols, ideas and experience.
We then looked at the method of meditation called Lectio Divina, which can straddle both types. In a local quiet morning recently, I used the method of Lectio Divina with part of Psalm 119 and I would like to share that with you.
Lectio Divina (divine, or holy, reading) is a way of acknowledging that our book of scripture - the Bible - is alive and active and of allowing it to be used by God to speak directly to our hearts - in order to deepen our relationship with God and to grow us spiritually. A passage of the Bible is read slowly and reflectively to allow the words to soak into our hearts and minds. It is not a way of Bible study - trying to unravel the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek words - but is a way of opening ourselves to God using a meditative approach.
Here is a reminder of how you might do Lectio Divina:
Read the chosen passage once, slowly. Then read it again - slowly. And perhaps, even a third time. S...l...o...w...l...y!
It may be that part of the passage - a word or a phrase - seems to be more significant to you than another. Choose the word or phrase that speaks to you the most. Now repeat this word/phrase - s-l-o-w-l-y - several times. Try not to analyse it, just allow yourself to savour it for several minutes - to ruminate on it - allowing the sense of it to fill you and feed you. Then talk to God about your prayer time and your response.
Here is the passage.
It is Psalm 119: 33-40
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.
Now speak with God in the quiet of your heart.
If you like to understand how and why things have developed then there is a useful definition of Lectio Divina at the Carmelite website
If you would like a description of how to do Lectio by using the analogy of eating chocolate then try this earlier post!