Principles of Lectio Divina

Thanks to Matthew Dallman for posting the following:

  1. Bible reading, meditation, can only be attempted from within the fellowship of the living Church, which includes its theological tradition, its liturgical worship and its pastoral guidance.
  2. Thus, all prayer begins with Baptismal incorporation into the Sacred Humanity of the Risen and Glorified Lord. The Bible can feed, inspire, and articulate this experience: look for its life rather than its message.
  3. Do not try to construct intellectual theories, or Ignatian ’resolutions’, or strict moral rules: leave all that to the biblical scholars. Rather allow the heart and mind of Christ to seep into the shared life within the Sacred Humanity: penetrate its mystery.
  4. Nevertheless, go to the Bible armed with the theological essentials, as guidelines. Prayer for the guidance of the Spirit is a good start, but so, I suggest, is a prayerful recitation of the Quicunque Vult. But such theological basis need not be one’s own learning, it can be sought in personal guidance from within the fellowship of the Church.
  5. Accept the challenge and adventure of the Bible’s subtlety, difficulty and mystery. Do not try to make it prove anything, rather let it inspire, poetically and contemplatively. In other words, see the essential connection between scholarship and prayer, but do not confuse the two.

[from “Spirituality in the Modern World : II. Meditation and Modern Biblical Studies”, by Martin Thornton, in The Expository Times 1978 89: 164]

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