During these weeks of Lent, I am offering here an invitation to an ancient spiritual practice called “Lectio Divina”. It is a practice of contemplatively reading scripture in order to still one’s mind and connect to God. Below are the steps to this week’s exercise.
Text: “…they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21: 7-11 NRSV
Lectio: Read this scripture passage aloud, slowly. Release any interpretation or opinion you may have about this passage, as you read it.
Meditatio: Let the passage “sink in” for two minutes. Sit with the passage. Hold it lightly – don’t force any attempt to interpret it.
Repeat “lectio” and “meditatio” three more times.
Oratio: Pray aloud: “May I receive from the scripture what my soul needs for today.”
Contemplatio: Who is Jesus to you? How can you build a stronger relationship with Christ in your daily living?
In the context of mindful Christian prayer, wanting equals having. To pay mindful attention to our desire for progress in mindfulness is to have a taste of that progress; in this case, a desire to progress in your relationship with Christ.
Let your desire for spiritual progress be a mustard seed that you can trust to grow, in its own time and on its own terms. Contemplative prayer opens us to our inner creativity and capacity for change in light of a problem or a need for growth.
In other words, we don’t need to solve problems or fix things in the moment of contemplative prayer. We simply learn to trust that solutions will arise from within, when the time is right. Much of this is adopting the truth that we already, in fact, have all that we need.
As Thomas Merton, the 20th century Trappist Catholic monk, summarized: “In prayer we discover what we already have. You start where you are and you deepen what you already have, and you realize that you are already there. We already have everything, but we don’t know it and we don’t experience it. Everything has been given to us in Christ. All we need is to experience what we already possess.”
See you in church,