Lenten Practice: Lectio Divina
Daily Act: Practice Lectio Divina
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.
“LIVING WORD, LIVE THROUGH ME.”
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin
What does it mean
That words are alive?
Do they continue to speak
Long after the moment
They are written
Or uttered aloud?
Is their message the same
Even as they say different things
At different times
To different people?
Are living words literally words
On a page
In our mouths
In our hearts?
Or are they also what is being spoken
That is wordless?
Streams of sunlight through branch’s porous patterns
The tall grass trembling in the unseen wind
Season’s cycles of death and renewal
Breathless awe atop mountain expanse
What is all this beauty saying?
And what of
Desecrated mountain tops mined and abandoned
Rubble and burnt bodies disfigured from bombs
Not enough rice in the bowl of the hungry
The calloused hands of the homeless
Pushing their carts down the sidewalk
Of the busy street where I
Sit comfortable in my car
What words are alive in
Do we really want to hear?
What do these words on page
Have to say to these words enfleshed?
How do these words on page
Yearn to be words enfleshed?
Feed my sheep
Love your enemy
Welcome the stranger
Let the oppressed go free
The kingdom of God
Has come near
Am I a living word?
What is the source of all words
Laboring inside me to say?
Am I living what is being
Speak us into being
O Holy Speaker
Open our ears to hear
Your word that breathes life
In all things
Live through me
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people… And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” –John 1
The Practice of Lectio Divina (From the Community of Christ Guide for Lent)
Select a passage of text that you feel led to dwell in. Relax your body and breathing and offer a prayer for guidance as you interact with the text. Read the text four times, allowing time for meditation and prayer between each reading.
Lectio —read the text to get a sense of the story or setting. Imagine the scene, senses, emotions, and tensions involved in the text.
Meditatio —read the text again to focus on meaning and understanding. What are the surface and underlying meanings? What does the text tell you about God? How do you relate to the text?
Oratio —read the text again to focus on your emotional response. Do you feel joy, sorrow, fear, anger, or guilt? Share your feelings with God in prayer. Ask for help in listening deeply to these emotions and meanings.
Contemplatio —continue in a time of receptive prayer. Breathe deeply and calmly, entering a deep silent state of listening. Wait for whatever God may bring to you in the quietness.
Record in a journal any impressions or insights that come to you and return to receptive listening. If no particular awareness comes, let your mind return to the text. When you feel your prayer and meditation has ended, offer a word of thanks to God to close your time with this practice.
Recommended Lenten Text: Isaiah 58:6–9
Pay attention to the questions that come to you as you engage in this practice. Live in the questions and see how they begin to shape your journey of repentance and renewal.