Archives For Lectio Divina

 

Tiptoeing Into Ancient Spiritual Formation

 A Review of 

Transformed by God’s Word—Discovering the Power of Lectio and Visio Divina
Stephen Binz


(icons by Ruta and Kaspars Poikans)
Paperback: Ave Maria Press, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 

Reviewed by C.S. Boyll

 

Catholic Bible scholar and speaker Stephen J. Binz, in Transformed by God’s Word—Discovering the Power of Lectio and Visio Divina, persuaded me to do something in Bible meditation that I’ve never done before. But, before I confess to what I did, let’s discuss Binz’s transformative possibilities for lay readers, both Catholic and Protestant.

I hope the Latin words Lectio Divina and Visio Divina don’t put off readers because of unfamiliarity.  Lectio Divina or “sacred reading” is simply meditating on a Bible passage with attentiveness to what the Holy Spirit desires to form in one’s heart and mind. Binz writes, “Rather than keeping scripture at a safe analytical distance, this formational reading leads us to personally encounter God through the sacred text. It opens us to personal engagement with God’s word. We involve ourselves intimately, openly, and receptively through what we read. Our goal is not just to use the text to acquire more knowledge, get advice, or form an opinion about the passage. Rather, the inspired text becomes the subject of our reading relationship, and we become the object that is acted upon and shaped by scripture. Reading with expectation, we patiently allow the text to address us, to probe us, and to form us into the image of Jesus Christ.”

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Bringing Coherence to
our Scattered Spiritual Lives.

A Review of 

Lectio Divina: From God’s Word to Our Lives
Enzo Bianchi

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2015
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Reviewed by Andrew Stout

 

Theological interpretations of Scripture are very much in fashion. These methods emphasize the Church’s interpretive role through typology, creeds, and liturgical use. Plenty of good books are available that call for reappropriations of premodern and precritical interpretive methods (in addition to a host of individual authors, book series like the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Intervarsity Press’ Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, and Baker Academic’s Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality could be mentioned). However, as Rowan Williams notes in the Foreword to Lectio Divina, “We have plenty of good scholarship and plenty of good popular summaries of that scholarship – but very little on the actual theology of reading the Bible, very little on reading the Bible as a central form of our discipleship” (vii). Enzo Bianchi understands the scholarship, and he provides a helpful orientation for the layperson. More than this, however, Bianchi shows that proper interpretation requires the faithful entrance into an active dialogue with the Word.

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Discovering Lectio Divina - Wilhoit / HowardThose Who Wish To Hear God’s Word

A Review of

Discovering Lectio Divina : Bringing Scripture into Ordinary Life

James C. Wilhoit and Evan B. Howard

Paperback: IVP/Formatio, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Gary Wake.

Lectio divina is not new, but it is fairly unknown to a large number of Christians. Over the past few years, this way of praying and studying the Bible has gained attention. Lectio divina is Latin for divine lesson or divine reading, but that does not tell us why the phrase is used instead of “Bible study” or “devotional time.”

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Book Giveaway: Discovering Lectio DivinaOur Latest Book Giveaway…

We’re giving away 5 copies of :

Discovering Lectio Divina: Bringing Scripture into Ordinary Life.
James Wilhoit and Evan Howard.

Paperback: IVP/ Formatio, 2012.

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Enter to win a Free copy of this book (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :

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(Leaving a comment is essential as we will draw the giveaway winners from among the comments left.)

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“Slowing Down
And Immersing Ourselves in the Biblical Story

A review of
Lectio Divina, The Sacred Art:
Transforming Words and Images
into Heart-Centered Prayer

by Christine Valters Paintner.

Review by Chris Smith.

[ Read an excerpt from this book… ]


Lectio Divina, The Sacred Art:
Transforming Words
and Images into Heart-Centered Prayer

Christine Valters Paintner.
Paperback: Skylight Paths, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

How do we read the Bible in this age when – as Christian Smith has persuasively argued in his recent book The Bible Made Impossible – some traditional approaches to scriptures are on the verge of dying off?  Is it possible for us to engage and immerse ourselves in scripture in ways other than taking it as cold, static textbook?  The ancient practice of lectio divina (holy reading) is surprisingly relevant for our times, and Christine Valters Paintner’s new book Lectio Divina, The Sacred Art: Transforming Words and Images into Heart-Centered Prayer is an elegant and useful introduction to this approach to reading the Bible (or other texts) in today’s world. Continue Reading…

 

An excerpt from

Lectio Divina, The Sacred Art:
Transforming Words and Images
Into Heart-Centered Prayer
.
Christine Valters Paintner.
Paperback: Skylight Paths, 2011.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

Read our review of this book by Chris Smith above…


 

“A Literary Spin
on Lectio Divina

A review of
At the Still Point:
A Literary Guide to Prayer in Ordinary Time.

Compiled by Sarah Arthur.

Reviewed by Kimberly M. Roth.

  

AT THE STILL POINT - Sarah ArthurAt the Still Point:
A Literary Guide to Prayer in Ordinary Time.

Compiled by Sarah Arthur.
Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

Before I became familiar with the term, I practiced Lectio Divina. Having a name for the practice simply made me feel more connected with the Church and confirmed in my love of words. Several years ago I attended my first silent retreat at a secluded cabin with friends, where I got hung up on Psalm 37 and stayed there for hours. Ever since, I have returned time and again to a tattered post-it note scribbled out that day with a list of words spoken directly to me: wait, trust, dwell, delight, commit, be still, don’t fret, refrain from anger, hope, seek peace. Over the years as those themes have echoed again and again through my daily experiences, I am drawn back to that moment, reminded that God was preparing my heart to endure change and conflict and to release control (also themes my spirit is continuing to engage).

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A Brief Review of

Haiku–The Sacred Art:
A Spiritual Practice in Three Lines
.
Margaret D. McGee.
Paperback: Skylight Paths, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Haiku has long been one of my favorite forms of poetry: short and simple enough to be written in one sitting, and yet spare; its brevity offering gentle discipline when I often am tempted to wax verbose.  So, I was delighted to find out about Margaret McGee’s recent book Haiku, the Sacred Art: A Spiritual Practice in Three Lines, a superb exploration of this poetic form for both beginners and experts alike.  In the book’s introduction, McGee notes that haiku is intended to depict a single image, “a picture in the mind’s eye.”  She describes “the haiku moment” as “a moment when the mind stops and the heart moves.”  Thus, the practice of writing haiku is necessarily a practice of slowing down and of attentiveness, of focusing on a single object and the feelings that it stirs up inside of us.  McGee also emphasizes that haiku is more about the experience than about the final written product.  Drawing on these themes throughout, McGee explores how haiku can become a spiritual, contemplative practice.  Specifically, she focuses on how the experience of haiku captures “the heart of a moment,” how haiku can be a form of prayer, and the ways in which writing and sharing haiku with others can be a rich community-building experience.  The most engaging chapter in the book, however, was McGee’s reflection on combining the practices of haiku and Lectio Divina (a meditative way of reading and reflecting upon scripture; for those unfamiliar, I would highly recommend Tony Jones’s book, Divine Intervention)  Lectio Divina combined with haiku can help us to internalize passages of scripture that we might take them out into the world with us.   “When you carry the words of sacred texts out into the world with you,” she says, “and look with attention, you may see the words reflected back to you in the common events and objects of daily life” (92).  Practices of internalizing scripture have been well-known among monastics (and other faithful ones) for centuries – and especially in the era before the printing press made texts widely available – but McGee’s thought to combine haiku with reflection upon scripture is one that will undoubtedly be kicking around my head for a long while.  One of the book’s final chapters reflects the “presentation” aspect of how haiku are written, specifically how they can be incorporated with pictures or prose.

Haiku, the Sacred Art: A Spiritual Practice in Three Lines is a rich little book, calling us into practices of attention and reflection that are lost arts in most corners of mainstream American culture.  I have no doubt that, if we would attend seriously to the ideas set forth here, we would be better prepared to hear that “still small voice” that seeks to transform us (and all creation) from the inside out.

 

A Brief Review of

Water, Wind, Earth and Fire:
The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements
.
Christine Valters Paintner.
Paperback:  Sorin Books, 2010.
Buy now:  [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Angela Adams.

First, a confession. I did not read this book as Christine Valters Paintner intended. In the midst of two extremely difficult and hurried weeks, I read it when I could – flying to a business meeting, sitting in an airport, using the elliptical machine. Paintner had something else entirely in mind: “this book is designed to be an accompaniment and guide for ongoing prayer and times of retreat” (7). Insert audible sigh here. Knowing Paintner’s intent, reading the book in my way I felt, well, like I was eavesdropping on a conversation that I wasn’t meant to hear – at least not yet, not in this way.

I expected Water, Wind, Earth And Fire to include scientific data about the elements and a broad historical survey of the elements in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Frankly, I fully expected a defense for making room for nature and the elements in Christian practices at all. Coming from a conservative background, part of me just assumed Paintner would find a defense of such ideas necessary. And while her introduction includes some of this, Paintner doesn’t waste much time. She quickly establishes praying the elements as a worthwhile Christian practice through Assisi’s “Canticle of the Creatures,” a quote from Merton declaring the elements to be “our spiritual directors” (2), and her own bold declarations that “Christian tradition tells us that we have received two books of divine revelation: the book of scripture and the book of nature. Creation itself is a sacred text. . .” (2).

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