Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. . . . Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.
—Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 2707-2708
What is lectio divina?
Spiritual reading of Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is an important form of meditation. This spiritual reading is traditionally called lectio divina or divine reading. Lectio divina is prayer over the Scriptures.
The first element of this type of prayer is reading (lectio): you take a short passage from the Bible, preferably a Gospel passage and read it carefully, perhaps three or more times. Let it really soak-in.
The second element is meditation (meditatio). By using your imagination enter into the Biblical scene in order to "see" the setting, the people, and the unfolding action. It is through this meditation that you encounter the text and discover its meaning for your life.
The next element is prayer (oratio) or your personal response to the text: asking for graces, offering praise or thanksgiving, seeking healing or forgiveness. In this prayerful engagement with the text, you open yourself up to the possibility of contemplation.
Contemplation (contemplatio) is a gaze turned toward Christ and the things of God. By God's action of grace, you may be raised above meditation to a state of seeing or experiencing the text as mystery and reality. In contemplation, you come into an experiential contact with the One behind and beyond the text.
Resources for Meditating on Scripture
- Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Art and Practice of Lectio Divina | en español
- Lectio Divina for Lent | en español
- Lectio Divina on the Meaning of a Call | en español
- Sharing the Word of God at Home
- The Ancient Practice of Lectio Divina