Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lectio Divina: From God’s Words to Our Lives by Enzo Bianchi

My love of scripture drew me to this book about the ancient practice that is having a resurgence in our times. I am speaking of Lectio Divina, which is a beautiful spiritual reading and praying of scripture. I am new to this practice so I wanted to read this book right away when I read the subtitle “From God’s Words to Our Lives. The original version was written in Italian in 2008. Now I have the privilege of previewing this new English translation. According to Origen (a third century church father), “There are three senses concealed in the words of scripture-literal, moral and spiritual.” We need to draw all of this out of the Bible as we read. The author tells us “The Bible as the heart of the church was rediscovered in Vatican II’s conciliar document Dei Verbum.” I love the analogy of scripture being God incarnate not just Christ (The Word) as he descends into flesh as a baby in the manger but also as he descends into the written human words of the bible. Lectio Divina first tells of the history of how we have read the bible, which has changed over time. Next is the importance of scripture in the church with the liturgy of the word. The unity of the scriptures is described from Old Testament to New Testament in light of our covenant relationship with God. The Bible calls us into an encounter with God. My favorite part is the description of the four parts of lectio divina: lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. Lectio is the literal historical part. Meditatio is about discovered revelation. Oratio is prayer and dialogue with God. Contemplatio is applying what we have read to our lives. There are several examples of how to apply this to sample bible readings. I have a new reverence for the bible as relationship. It can be a vehicle to spend time with God in his word. I have learned a lot about divine reading through this book. I would highly recommend this book for those who are already experienced readers of scriptures and for those who are new to bible reading. This is a Catholic approach to bible study and prayer but all Christians would enjoy learning about this process of divine reading started during the time of the early church fathers and the beginning years of Christianity.

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