Enriching your life in Christ through profound Christian Meditation
Lectio Divina ('divine reading') is only a slightly more involved than the technique of
contemplative prayer. The physical mechanics are almost identical to the meditation
technique described in part 1 of this article. The primary difference is that in the previous
exercise you have a single word that is repeated (to the point that any thought of meaning is
lost and attention is focused on the simple act of repetition), but in lectio divina the meditator
has chosen a phrase from the bible to read repeatedly while considering closely the
meaning of that text.
Historically, the Psalms have provided much material for this Christian technique, but really
any book in the Bible will have plenty of useful verses. Taking a well known Psalm as an
example, we can look at Ps. 23: "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack. In green
pastures You let me graze, to safe waters You lead me; You restore my strength. You guide
me along the right path for the sake of Your name. Even when I walk through a dark valley, I
fear no harm for You are at my side; Your rod and staff give me courage."
Once the meditator has established a quiet space (as in contemplative prayer), he or she
can quietly read through the chosen verse. Initially, the thoughts and impressions which
arise as a result of mindfully going through the lines will be pretty generic, surface level
material. That's fine. It's how our minds work.
But as the practitioner of this Christian meditation technique continues to read through and
really begin to taste the meaning of the text, the message begins to morph from a general
statement written to billions of people scattered over thousands of years into a message
spoken just for the reader. The message becomes a message of love from God sent directly
to His child.
In that frame of mind, the meditator can begin to allow the words of the message to fade
from awareness. However, instead of an absence, a simple sitting and resting with God can
be experienced. When speaking of meditative experience we are often stuck using
metaphorical language to describe it; in this case, the feeling engendered by lectio divina is
not unlike the felt experience had by the small child who has been running around, laughing
and playing (maybe even getting into a bit of trouble). Finally acknowledging his exhaustion
and coming to his mother or father, he climbs into their lap, and simply rests in that secure
embrace. In this case, we are the child and God is our loving parent who wraps His love
Through both Christian meditation techniques of contemplative prayer and lectio divina, the
expectation is that, over time, this repeated exposure to spending restful time in communion
with our Father will produce wholesome changes in our spirit: unruly passions like anger and
greed will wither, while healthy impulses toward compassion and a desire to fulfill God's will
in our lives grow. I address the usefulness of that assumption in other writings, but it is clear
that either or both of these practices can make a powerful impact on the spiritual life of the
Christian willing to explore them.
Buddhist Techniques for
|Christian Meditation Technique - Part 2