Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Midweek Meditation: Lectio Divina

The Lectio Divina is a spiritual practice of meditative reading, or spiritual reading. Instead of reading to harness information, it is a kind of reading that moves toward spiritual formation. When we read the Bible, we listen. Then we listen some more, pausing when necessarily, cruising when needed. It lets the Word of God take root in our hearts, or sit above us as we settle our minds toward obedience. Classical lectio divina comprises four elements.
  1. Lectio - reading;
  2. Meditatio - reflecting;
  3. Oratio - responding;
  4. Contemplatio - resting.
All of these actions are focused and guided by the Scriptures. Richard Foster calls the lectio divina as "a meditative, spiritual reading in which both the mind and the heart are drawn into the love of God." Once this practice is done, we can apply the same method to other kinds of spiritual literature.

"The masters of the spiritual life advise that we should, when contemplating, make use of the imagination. For example, we should visualize an incident such as the miracle of the draught of fishes as vividly as we can. We should be present in mind as though we had just stopped on our way and were witnessing the event. This is most useful because it brings the event to life and makes it part of our inner experience." (Romano Guardini)

Let us apply the lectio divina to the reading of this verse.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." (John 1:4, NAS)

  • In - not outside, nor sideways, up, or down. It is in. It is inclusive. It is inner being. 
  • Him - Why is "Him" so special? It is a Person, not a Principle, not a Force, not an element, not something that is impersonal or metaphysical being. It is in the flesh.
  • Life - It is alive. It is a flowing dynamic, not a static block of inanimate thing. It moves, it beats, it lives.
  • Light - In a world of darkness, things are gloomy and scary. When the light comes, the darkness flees. Darkness is not a dark force per se, but a place where there is absence of light. With light, there will be no darkness. With darkness, we need the light. 
  • Men - Not animals or plants, not machines or technology. It is purely the human concern. God loves people.
  • Put them all together, and we have one verse that speaks of the Giver of Life, the Light of Men, in one Person: Jesus Christ.


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