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Welcome

The Holy Spirit invites all of us into an intimate, transformative, friendship with Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh who came to dwell among us (John 1 :14). No matter where we are in life; the struggles that plague us, the uncertainty or doubts that cloud us, or the dreams and relationships that nourish us, the Holy Spirit actively invites us into a life forming friendship with Christ.
For any friendship to deepen there are essential characteristics that need to be in operation. One such characteristic is "listening". Real friends listen to each other - really listen.
This is true in our relationship with God and is a vital ingredient in our spiritual formation. One of the best ways for us to listen to God is through a special kind of Bible reading called lectio divina - literally meaning "divine reading," but better translated as "spiritual reading." Lectio Divina comes to us from the earliest days of the church, in the third century Origen used the Greek phrase thea anagnosis (divine reading) to describe a way of approaching Scriptures for the purpose of finding a personal message from God. This practice became wide spread when the desert fathers and mothers made the Word of God the basis for their prayer lives and shortly after this Saint Benedict made the practice of lectio divina central to Western monasticism. From the earliest centuries to the 21 century, lectio divina continues to be a life-giving practice that draws us into an intimacy with God that leads to real transformation personally and communally.
In 2018 we enter this daily practice of spiritual reading and seek nothing less than God. We welcome the guidance of the Holy Spirit, attend to the word of God and listen for God's living word to us. "Lectio Divina treats the Scriptures not as a text to be studied or a set of truths to be grasped, but as the living Word - always alive and active, always fresh and new."
So welcome to this journal, welcome to the next 6 months with God through sacred reading, continuous prayer, and vibrant community.
-Greg Russinger
Intro to lectio Divina
The purpose of the journal
As was mentioned in the welcome section, lectio divina is about one thing: developing an intimate relationship with God by reading, listening, and praying the Scriptures that have been given to us.
Why practice lectio divina?
We are hoping to hear God’s voice and do God’s will, to move from simply attaining information and move toward a communion with God that is transformative. This means we are listening for the voice of God, communicated through the Scriptures and revealed by the Spirit.
How does lectio divina work?
First, you listen with the heart to the text of the Bible for what God seems to be speaking through the text. The classical form of Lectio Divina includes four elements — “elements not marching in precise formation but one calling forth another and then receding to give place to another: none in isolation from the others.”
The word is very near you;
it is in your mouth and in your heart,
so that you can do it.
Deuteronomy 30:14
These four elements are;

Reading of [lectio]

This first element is simply reading the text. Do so slowly, unhurried, prayerfully, out-loud, and then read again at least 3 times. Allow yourself to experience the text and not just intellectualize it, paying special attention to words, phrases, or sentences that seem to take hold of you. In faith we wait for God to speak through Word and Spirit to our soul.

reflecting on [meditatio]

This second element calls you to reflect on the Word, words, phrases, sentences that took hold of you, allowing them to become primary. Write them down, let them begin to sink down deep into your heart, repeat them over and over in your mind while reflecting on what feelings or emotion they provoke. Ask yourself; What is the Lord saying to you through them? What do these words mean to you? What is God speaking to your heart through them? This element is like Mary’s response in Luke 2:51 where “she pondered all these things in her heart.”

responding to [oratio]

This third element is moving toward a prayerful response. As you have read, and re-read, reflected on words, phrases, sentences, and even asked questions to help you navigate why these words have taken hold, now draw these thoughts into your heart and make your own personal response to the Lord in prayer. Tell God what’s on your heart, offer a prayerful response of love, thankfulness, petition or intercession, sit in silence, write a prayer, draw a picture, actively respond to the word you have received. There are 12 extra pages (2 per month) in the back of the journal incase you need additional space to write.

resting in [contemplatio]

This fourth element is where we rest in God, we become inactive and simply dwell with God as the beloved. This may not come easy and may take patience and discipline. Simply be still for a moment, allow the Lord to love you, to continue etching on your heart the words He has given you through this process of lectio divina. This is a prayer of presence, it is the movement from conversation to communion.
European monk, Guigo the Second, in the twelfth century spoke of these four elements like this,
Reading, as it were, puts solid food into our mouths,
Meditation chews it and breaks it down,
Prayer obtains the flavor of it,
and Contemplation is the very sweetness
which makes us glad and refreshes us
all with the aim of nourishing and deepening our relationship with Father, Son, Spirit, and being a witness of Christ and love in the world.

journal

Additional space provided on Sundays and at the back of the Lectio Divina Journal for reflection and thoughts.
Copyright 2019, Lectio Divina Journal