LECTIO Divina Discussion


Detailed notes from Chapter 13: Lectio Divina, from “The Wisdom Jesus” by Cynthia Bourgeault

But you are invited to figure out the steps from the following chart . . .

In lectio divina you work intensely with a short scriptural passage in four distinct steps:  This is exactly what Jesus was suggesting to the disciples in the 5th line of the Lord’s Prayer: Give us this day our daily bread. (hawvlan lachma d’sunqanan yeoman or Remember fullness – remind yourself of heaven(d’bwashmaya) everyday

1.  Lectio (reading) Living Water – Slow and attentive absorbing of material.  Pause for a moment of silence and read it again.  This is called active listening.
2.     Meditatio (reflection) Engaging the Text – quietly allow faculties (your reason, your imagination, your memory and your emotions begin to work with the text.
3.     Oratio (prayer) The Spirit’s Emotional Response –which on any given time may or may-not happen.
4.     Contemplatio (contemplation) Resting in God – the meal is finished.  Psalm 131 exemplifies this step . . .

And you might consider applying the steps to the psalm itself.  Note the notes and meditations below.

Psalm 131—Wakeful Listening[i]

1.Lord. I have little or nothing, I am no one and can bring nothing to you at all.

2. I am only a simple human being, I understand little of earth’s great affairs.

3.But I know this, that I must still my soul in quietness, await you presence in the silence, listening,

4. And in this waiting silence, remain awake forever.

(Ancient Songs Sung Anew, by  Lynn C. Bauman)


[i] Notes regarding Psalm 131:

  1. There is something extraordinary tender about this Psalm. It is spoken from the perspective of an ordinary human being who stands awake and aware before God.  God is surely available to that person as someone well known or powerful.
  2. What this common psalmist knows, however, is a very uncommon. It is in the form of a wisdom in which the divine feminine is fully expressed. God, here, is imagined as Mother.  Through that metaphor is rare in the Semitic tradition, it is not known, and we need to balance the patriarchal image with those which express the feminine and the divine matriarchy.

Meditation Guides regarding psalm 131:

  1. You know yourself to be an ordinary human being. Like countless other men and women, perhaps you feel there is little that is distinctive enough about you to make you stand out from the crowd.  But what makes someone distinctive is not some external == but an inner uniqueness is expressed as a form of knowledge (or awareness) about our human relationship to God.  How would you express that same kind of knowing?
  2. Spiritual wakefulness has always been considered to be one of the highest spiritual states. Notice that there are several states mentioned in the last verses.  Outline and define for yourself what they are.
  3. Notice that the image of the last two verses of this psalm is not unlike the icon of the theotokos (the image of St Mary as God-bearer). In that image or icon there is the same sense of her waiting and the listening  silence before God.  The image used in psalm, however, is God herself who is bearing the child of humanity.  How do you understand this image, or to recognize what you might not otherwise see?