Lectio Divina – Group Reading
Seek in READING
and you will find in MEDITATION
knock in PRAYER
and it will be opened to you in CONTEMPLATION
– St. John of the Cross, paraphrasing Luke 11:9
Lectio Divina, or “sacred reading,” is an ancient way of prayerfully receiving the Word of God. It may be practiced individually or in a group. There are typically four movements:
Lectio – reading a selected text
Meditatio – meditating on a specific word or phrase that stands out
Oratio – speaking to God in prayer, journaling, or sharing with others in a group
Contemplatio – contemplation… simply “being” with God, resting in God’s embrace without words, awake to the movement of the Spirit.
A Group Lectio Practice
• Choose scripture passage (up to 10 verses or so). Print copies for each participant (optional).
• Choose 3 readers—a mix of genders if available. Let them know you will prompt them when to read aloud. Encourage them to read slowly, deliberately.
• Groups of 4-8 work best; larger groups may take longer or can be broken into smaller groups.
• Note that during any time of sharing, participants may “pass” if they do not wish to speak.
• Participants are invited to sit comfortably, back straight and limbs relaxed, settling into quiet breathing. Eyes may be closed.
• Allow 2-3 minutes of silence.
First Reading (Lectio)
• Invitation for participants: During the first reading, simply listen for an overall sense of the passage. Get in touch with the ideas; if it is a story, use your imagination to place yourself in the scene. Pay attention not only to thoughts, but also to emotions and physical sensations.
• First reader reads aloud, followed by a short period of silence.
Second Reading (Meditatio)`
• Invitation for participants: in the next reading, listen for any particular word or phrase that stands out. It may be for some particular reason or just a gut response, positive or negative. This is the Word you will taste and “chew on” for today.
• Second reader reads aloud.
• Invitation for participants: Go around the circle and say aloud your word or phrase, without comment.
Third Reading (Oratio)
• Invitation for participants: after the next reading spend several minutes quietly meditating on how your word or phrase might connect with your life today, or the life of our community. What feelings or response does it stir? Are you prompted to any change or action? Is your posture one of acceptance or resistance? Be as honest as possible with God about anything you are thinking and feeling.
• Third reader reads aloud.
• After a few minutes of silence, invite each participant to share a sentence or two, in the form of “I see, I hear, or I sense”…whatever he or she has received and responded to.
Fourth Reading (Contemplatio)
• Invitation for participants: this is a time of simply sitting in the presence of God, awake to his work and Word (Christ among us).
• Fourth reader reads aloud. (This reading is optional; may be only silence during this time.)
• Several minutes of silence.
• Each person prays for the person to the right. (optional)
• Leader closes time in prayer.
Stories that remind us what is possible when leaders undergo the Incarnational Movements.