Lectio Divina: A Guide to Praying with Scripture


Personal Prayer, Fr. Boniface Hicks, Lectio divina
Photo Credit: Stefan Kunze

“I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.”—Pope Benedict XVI

“It is especially necessary that listening to the word of God should become a life-giving encounter, in the ancient and ever valid tradition of lectio divina. . . . ”—Pope St. John Paul II



God wants to communicate with us. He has made His Word accessible to us in Sacred Scripture. Begin lectio divina by selecting a passage to read. The Gospels are a great place to start. Prayerfully read God’s word slowly and attentively.



Guigo the Carthusian described lectio as placing mouth in our food, and meditatio as chewing. Savor the words you have just read, ruminating on them. Ask yourself “What is God saying to me through this passage?” Focus on a meaningful word or phrase.



Our response to what we have read and meditated on can take many forms. Like Mary, we can pray, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  We can accept God’s love, surrender to His will, express gratitude for His grace, and ask Him to share this grace with others as well.



Contemplation, the last stage of lectio divina is, according to Pope Benedict XVI, a moment of transformation in which we become like God. Our primary action in this stage is to simply abide in Him, savoring the sweetness of our loving union. Rest in God’s presence, taking in all that you have learned and experienced in this time of prayer.



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