Please read through the entire document before you begin the first time.
Lectio Divina, which is Latin for sacred reading, is an ancient Catholic practice of reading scriptures (or any other suitable religious text) and allowing it to speak to your heart and soul. In the Catholic tradition, this sacred reading tradition began with St. Benedict of Nursia and his community at Monte Cassino, but was greatly expanded and explained by Guigo, a Carthusian monk. This practice has many goals, but first among them is to begin to hear the voice of God, and understand His will for your life. A regular practice of Lectio Divina always bears tremendous fruit in the life of the practitioner. The process is quite simple, but requires great practice to master.
- Set aside a time and a place to enter into this time with the Lord. Having a regular time of prayer is enormously beneficial to the spiritual life, and nourishes the virtues. Likewise, choosing a place that is conducive to prayer and free from distractions is always helpful. It is especially fruitful to set aside a place in your home that has religious images, books, devotionals, candles, and no distractions as your place of prayer. If that is not possible, then spending time in Church is always a good option.
- Now that you have come to this place and time of prayer, spend a few moments recollecting yourself. Relax yourself and try to free your mind of anxieties or anything else that might keep you from deep prayer. Then realize that you are truly in the presence of God, that He loves you deeply and earnestly, and that He desires to speak to you in this time of prayer.
- Pray to the Holy Spirit for light and guidance. Remember, we do not know how to pray as we should and we rely on the assistance of the Holy Spirit to truly pray. This prayer to the Holy Spirit can be spontaneous, or you can use the prayer attached to this document.
- Pray preparatory acts of faith, hope, and love. These prayers open your heart, mind, and soul to be receptive to God’s movements in this time of prayer. The acts of faith, hope, and love can be spontaneous, or you can use the ones attached to this document.
- Then, ask God for the deepest desire of your heart. Having prayed to the Holy Spirit and having opened your heart and soul, express the deepest desire of your soul. What is it in this moment that you need most? Speak it now. It is highly recommended that you write this intention in a journal. So that, as you grow in your relationship with our Lord, you can see the ways that He has answered your prayers.
- Read through the selected scriptures or texts once, just to grasp its meaning. Then read through again, and perhaps even once more, noticing the words, phrases or situations that strike you. There are many ways to select the text for this reading. You can choose to read through a gospel, or just your favorite passages, or follow the lectionary of the church, or read a part of another devotional text.
- Then close your eyes and imagine the setting, using your senses.
- Imagine that you are there with Christ. Listening to Him speak, or watching Him perform miracles. Try to enter into whatever text you are reading. Let the text expand your heart and your mind. Notice the people, the places, their emotions and faces. How do they feel? What are they thinking? Where are you in this story? What is your reaction? Pay attention to all of the movements of your heart.
- Spend as much time as you like here. There is no limit to how long you can spend in that place; but you should certainly allow at least ten minutes here.
- When the prayer ends, reflect on what you have experienced. Take note of how your heart or mind was moved. Consider the things or experiences that you want to remember. You might consider writing these in your journal near your intention.
- Now pray the prayer of your heart. Speak to Christ as your friend. Share everything on your heart and mind, and tell Him how much you desire to be His friend and to follow Him. Consider making a resolution from this time of prayer. It does not have to be anything extraordinary, just a small resolve to help you grow in grace.
- Pray a prayer of thanksgiving – either the one below, or your own – and end this time with an Our Father.
- Finally, after all of that, spend a moment evaluating your time of prayer.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches because you have revealed them who are eternal truth and wisdom, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. In this faith I intend to live and die. Amen.
Act of Hope
O Lord God, I hope by your grace for the pardon of all my sins and after life here to gain eternal happiness because you have promised it who are infinitely powerful, faithful, kind, and merciful. In this hope I intend to live and die. Amen.
Act of Love
O Lord God, I love you above all things and I love my neighbor for your sake because you are the highest, infinite and perfect good, worthy of all my love. In this love I intend to live and die. Amen.
Act of Thanksgiving
From the depths of my heart I thank You, dear Lord, for Your infinite kindness in coming to me. How good You are to me! With Your most holy Mother and all the angels, I praise Your mercy and generosity toward me, a poor sinner. I thank You for nourishing my soul with Your Sacred Body and Precious Blood. I will try to show my gratitude to You in the Sacrament of Your love, by obedience to Your holy commandments, by fidelity to my duties, by kindness to my neighbor and by an earnest endeavor to become more like You in my daily conduct.