The ancient prayer form called Lectio-Divina is a perfect way for us to enter into an ever deepening relationship with God, and the season of Advent provides us with the perfect opportunity to use it. The following six steps lead us in this beautiful method of prayer:
1. First, prepare to meet with God.
Come to your time of prayer with expectant faith, knowing that this prayer meditation on the Word of God will yield fruit in your life even if it is not immediately apparent. Before beginning, rid yourself as much as possible from distractions. Turn off the television, radio, CD player, and -- the cell phone. This is a time to be alone with God and to hear His voice in the inner confines of your heart.
2. Select a Scripture passage.
While there is no right or wrong way to select a passage, during this Advent season readings relating to the coming of the Messiah are particularly appropriate. Use the readings of the day from the Sacred Liturgy, the Office of Readings, a Scripture study guide, or the infancy narratives. The passage need not be lengthy. The goal here is not to make progress in reading the Bible, but to make progress in your relationship with God.
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to remove any interior obstacles or blocks that might prevent you from hearing the word of God. Ask Him to give you knowledge and understanding, wisdom and hope. Ask Him to illuminate any areas of your heart that need to experience His healing and light.
4. Read the passage of Scripture s-l-o-w-l-y.
Make yourself present to the Word through an act of faith. Consider the context of the passage, what is being said in the passage, and what the specific application might be for you in your life.
5. Listen for God's voice in the "bottom of your heart."
What is God saying to you through this passage? Is He teaching you a lesson, explaining a great truth, shedding light on a circumstance in your life, "revealing the fundamental cause of a present day difficulty?" Listen, listen, listen.
6. Voice a response back to God.
St. Teresa of Avila said, "All that should be sought for in the exercise of prayer is conformity of our will with the divine will, in which consists the highest perfection." With that in mind, what resolutions, decisions, or changes do you wish to make in your relationship with God, within yourself, or with others? Tell God what they are and use His grace to follow through with them. Take the first step immediately.Prayer is the gateway to divine union and intimacy with God. Through it we are informed, reformed,and transformed. Our heart is healed. Our spirit is purified. Our soul is made whole. During this Advent, promise to make time for prayer every day. See what a difference it will make in your preparation and experience of the coming of the Lord.
Today's Spiritual Exercise:
Select one of the following two passages from Sacred Scripture. Pray it using the Lectio-Divina method described in this post. Keep a journal and record your insights and inspirations for this passage. Be sure to formulate a response back to God.
Psalm 25: 1-5
Matt. 3: 1-3
Some resources to make your Advent more meaningful:Dawn of the Messiah by Dr. Edward SriWatch and Pray: An Advent Reflection with Fr. Edmund Sylvia, C.S.C.Copyright 2020, by Johnnette Benkovic Williams. All rights reserved.