Lectio Divina: December 2010 Archives
At yesterday's terrific conference on Lectio Divina, the keynote presenter, Trappist Brother Simeon Levia, monk of Saint Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, MA, gave an incredible talk on doing the work of Lectio Divina at a conference on Lectio sponsored by Mario Paredes and his staff at the American Bible Society. Brother Simeon is an established Catholic thinker.
One central aspect of Brother Simeon's talk was his development of 9 qualities of Lectio Divina. Please note, lectio divina is not the exclusive domain of professional religious, that is, the exclusive use of monks and nuns, even though a lot of artwork often limits itself to portraying monks doing lectio. My notes are an expansion of what he said about doing lectio divina:
1. It's done leisurely, it is not a rushed process: give at least 30 minutes. There's an open-endedness of doing lectio; it's to be done in a slow manner, not achievement or goal oriented. You might want to read Josef Pieper's seminal book, Leisure: The Basis of Culture. By doing lectio in a leisurely manner one activates the deepest levels of the human heart opening the heart up to its potentiality. Brother Simeon said something crucial for me: doing lectio in a leisurely manner you return to Paradise where there's an original delight in all things --God, His Presence, ourselves, the Other. Brother noted that in this category we are able to build "islands of leisure for all" in that we cultivate healthy relationships. Remembering that we are made for the other --be it for life in the Trinity and the other person-- and not to cultivate healthy relationships we are prone to die. Pertinent, therefore, is to ask the question: How do I spend my free time and take delight in that time? With a style of life that prizes the use of time, how we use our time is a sacrifice. Time is a precious gift from God. If you are inclined to do things out of obligation: forget it. Moralisms don't work here.
I am exceedingly happy to see the American Bible Society (ABS) responding so quickly to Pope Benedict's encouragement to delve more deeply into sacred Scripture through the practice of Lectio Divina. The Pope spoke eloquently of Lectio Divina and its need for us to practice in his recent work on Scripture, Verbum Domini.
Mario Paredes who oversees the Roman Catholic section of the ABS has organized for today "a contemporary approach to the ancient method of Lectio Divina as a service both to and through the Catholic Church with a new Lectio Divina Bible and Manuel. ABS will inaugurate the new Lectio Divina program at an official kick-off" today at 11 a.m at the ABS headquarters.
Brother Simeon Leiva, OCSO, a monk of Saint Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, MA, will deliver a talk titled, "A Contemporary Approach to Lectio Divina."