Ester

Posts Tagged ‘bible’

Spiritual toolbox part 5: Lectio Divina meditation

In Spiritual Toolbox on May 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Lectio Divina

What is it?
The first time I heard about Lectio Divina was two years ago on a silent retreat. I read this book by Anselm Gruen: ‘Bronnen van spiritualiteit’ (sources of spirituality) which handled the topic of this ancient Benedictine meditation practice.

Daily life in a Benedictine monastery consisted of three elements: liturgical prayer, manual labor and Lectio Divina: a quiet prayerful reading of the Bible. This slow and thoughtful reading of Scripture, and the ensuing pondering of its meaning, is their meditation. This spiritual practice is called “divine reading”, “sacred reading”, or lectio divina

Lectio Divina has been likened to “Feasting on the Word.” The four parts are

  1. first taking a bite (Lectio),
  2. then chewing on it (Meditatio).
  3. next is the opportunity to savor the essence of it (Oratio).
  4. finally, the Word is digested and made a part of the body (Contemplatio).

What do you need?

  • the decision to take some time out of your day every day, for example 20 to 30 minutes.
  • a candle, an image or an icon of Christ or a Bible to look at
  • a dedicated space to sit down comfortably
  • a passage from the Bible
  • pen and paper

How to do it?
Preparation

  • Sit somewhere comfortable (like on a pillow) and breathe slowly.
  • Close your eyes or keep them open. Do whatever gives you the least distraction.
  • Be silent.
  • Be present to God/Jesus and focused on Him alone. If you experience thoughts, imagine throwing them in a stream of water and letting them float along.
  • Accept all your present emotions: stress, restlessness… They are present. Accept them and they will lessen.
  • Greet God, thank Him that He loves you. Open your heart to Him. Trust that He wants to be with you too.

Meditation


Lectio (reading)

  • Read a small passage from the Bible out loud.

Meditatio (reflection)

  • Start pondering a word (or a few words) from the text that particularly speaks to you. Chew and re-chew it so that it can do something to you. It is more important that the word is doing something to us than that we do something to the word. Let the word sink into your heart.

Oratio (response)

  • Every time you are distracted, you speak the word in order to let it bring you back into silence. Then be silent. Be focused on Him, be present in the moment, you don’t have to do anything. Let your heart speak to God.

Contemplatio (rest)

  • Let go of your own ideas and plans. And you can go deeper: let go of your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level to God who speaks within you with a still, small voice.

Conclusion
Conclude with a simple prayer of thanksgiving, greeting or signing yourself with a cross: in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Of course all of this takes practice. I personally find it really hard to take the very first step to find the rest to actually sit down and be quiet. I often feel a fear of failure or an urge to be busy. I ask God to help me with this and to grow in intimacy with Him despite my own thoughts and feelings.

What are your experiences in Christian meditation? Please feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter.

Sources:

  1. wikipedia.org
  2. ‘Nieuwe wegen, oude bronnen’ by Victor van Heusden (‘New paths, old sources)
  3. United Church of Christ
Advertisements

Spiritual toolbox part 4: Journaling

In Spiritual Toolbox on May 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Joshua 4:4-7 (New International Version)

4 “So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Life goes fast. We blow by it everyday. Faster paced all the time. Hurry hurry move on!
‘God where are you? I can’t see you, I can’t hear you!’, we say.
Rush rush, strive, work…

Today I’m proposing a tool to remember, to build stones to remember what the Lord has done in your life. Building rocks by journaling.
First and foremost I am telling it to myself, because I fell off the journaling-wagon two months ago, and I know how it used to help me in the past to feel connected to God and to remember everything he has done in my life by looking back in my old journals whenever I doubted or lost hope.
That’s why I challenge myself and you to pick it up again.

What kind of journaling-tools do I have?

For 2010 I bought myself a nifty Moleskine journal with an elastic strap. In addition I use an easily flowing pen: the ‘uniball eye’ which is also waterproof/fadeproof.

What kind of entries do I make?

Here are some examples:

  • pieces of Scripture to speak to me
  • dreams
  • sense of direction from God: events that trigger me, seem to be led by Him. (It’s nice to review these regularly to see God’s plan for my life, or in this year)
  • prayer requests and answers to prayer
  • questions, struggles
  • quotes from people I meet or spiritual authors
  • everyday events I cherish
  • prayers
  • thanksgiving
  • praise to God
  • pictures
  • newspaper article-snippets
  • poems/songs
  • printed blog posts
  • excerpts of sermons
  • pieces of forumposts with prayer requests or faith related questions with their answers.

My journal looks like a hogdepodge of cut and pasted little notes from my notebook (since my journal is too big to carry around with me and my notepad isn’t). That’s where the elastic strap comes in handy to bind it together neatly.

How to make a habit of journaling?

Make an entry every day for 30 days and tick it off on a little calendar to hold yourself accountable.
What’s my challenge?
I’m going to write in my journal every day from 1st of May to 1st of June 2010 and check my progress every day.
What’s my goal?
To become closer to God again, more attuned to Him and better able to discern his will for my life. Another goal is to collect beautiful stuff from my walking with God for the dry ‘wilderness’ times.

Do you have any experience with journaling?

If so, do share it with me in the comments or on twitter.
And please ask now and then how I’m doing journaling-wise!