“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to listen to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo’s description remains fundamental.
In order to practice lectio divina in a youth group, select a time and place that is peaceful and in which you and your whole group may be alert and prayerfully attentive.
Then follow Guigo’s form.
1. Have everyone get comfortable and quiet.
2. Have the selection read once. (Reading)
3. Give everyone a chance to say one word or phrase that really interests them for the reading. (Reflecting)
4. Read the reading again by a different person.
5. Pause and then allow everyone to say why they picked that word or phrase. Why is it important to them?(Expressing)
6. Have the reading read once more by a different person.(Resting)
7. End in a closing prayer.
“Let the Words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in your sight, for you are my strength and my redeemer.” Amen.
Deeper description of each Step.
Reading (lectio) – Slowly begin reading a biblical passage as if it were a long awaited love letter addressed to you. Approach it reverentially and expectantly, in a way that savors each word and phrase. Read the passage until you hear a word or phrase that touches you, resonates, attracts or even disturbs you.
Reflecting (meditatio) – Ponder this word or phrase for a few minutes. Let it sink in slowly and deeply until you are resting in it. Listen for what the word or phrase is saying to you at this moment in your life, what it may be offering to you, what it may be demanding of you.
Expressing (oratio) – When you feel ready, openly and honestly express to God the prayers that arise spontaneously within you from your experience of this word or phrase. These may be prayers of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, lament, or praise.
Resting (contemplatio) – Allow yourself to simply rest silently with God for a time in the stillness of your heart remaining open to the quiet fullness of God’s love and peace. This is like the silence of communion between the mother holding her sleeping infant child or between lovers whose communication with each other passes beyond words.