My eyes are awake before each watch of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
I love Thomas Keating’s words: “Silence is God’s first language; everything else is a poor translation.”
That which is infinite cannot be put into a finite container. Therefore, the Bible, if it really is God’s word handed down to us, needs a “new” way of reading. It beckons for a different way of ingesting that we may not be use to. This new way of reading does not change the Bible, but how we approach it. This is the secret of Lectio Divina’s power.
Reading a spiritual text in the “normal” way of reading can have the unintended consequence of pushing God further into hiding. How? We fill ourselves with more head knowledge, crowding out His actual presence. Instead, we read as an act of slow, deliberate prayer. In an unhurried receptive manner. Listening.
In contemplative prayer, you listen in receptive silence, and hold yourself open for the purpose of fostering the experience of God’s presence within you. You listen for and to the “Helper” that Jesus told His disciples about:
“This other helper is the spirit of truth. The world can’t receive him, because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you know him, because he lives with you, and will be in you.” John 14:17
Tomorrow, we’ll start to look at the actual practice of Lectio Divina.
I do believe God speaks directly to us via the Holy Spirit, but as the humorous picture above suggests, the Spirit’s communication is many times and usually quite clearly through Scripture. Without the Scriptural foundation, especially the four Gospel accounts, then we are quite likely pursuing someone or something other than YHWH.
As David Benner well says, “the God we must come to know is uniquely revealed in His word. Even though the word became flesh, we must start our knowing of the Word in Scripture, not simply in our inner experience.”
And the monks of Saint Meinrad put it this way, “We…follow the Benedictine way of seeking God with the Gospel as our guide.”
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria