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