According to nutritional experts, people benefit from slowly eating food because of the opportunity to not only savor lovingly prepared food but also to appreciate its taste and its presentation while enjoying the company of family and friends. Just as there are benefits in savoring and appreciating the taste of physical food, there are benefits in savoring and appreciating the taste of spiritual food—the Word of God.
Lectio Divina (translated “divine [or sacred] reading”) is a way to become immersed in Scripture. This ancient monastic tradition and spiritual practice combines slow and conscious scriptural reading with meditation while listening for God’s Word that is spoken in the present moment. It is a contemplative reading that savors the sweetness of God’s Word. If you have ever received a love letter and sought a quiet, private place to read it, so is it with Lectio Divina. It, too, requires a quiet, private spiritual space which can lead to a deep and an intimate relationship with God.
My first experience with Lectio Divina was during chapel while studying at seminary. It began with a time of silence that created a quiet inner space to hear from God— praying for guidance and understanding. Next, a leader slowly read, aloud and several times, a passage of scripture, which was the time to listen for a word or a phrase that touched the heart, and meditating and resting on that word or phrase in God’s presence was followed by responding to God in prayer.
Here is the Process of Lectio Divina:
1) Read: Read the passage slowly a couple of times. Listen for the word or the phrase that is addressed to you.
2) Reflect: How is my life touched by this word today?
3) Respond: What is my response to God’s invitation?
4) Rest: Rest in the Word of God.
5) Resolve: Live out the Word of God in your daily life.
Lectio Divina is a transformational experience that allows the Word of God to become a living word. My personal favorite passage to savor is Psalm 23. Lectio Divina is slowly savoring the taste of the Word of God that is sweeter than honey, and it is an in-depth seeking of God’s peace and wisdom.