Praying the Bible – The Reading of Lectio Divina

Daniel's Bistro Burger.jpg

Praying the Bible
Introlectio divinareading – meditating – praying – contemplating

One of the best meals I’ve ever had was in an upscale restaurant, Daniel’s Bistro, in New York City. My entrée was called the DB Burger, the signature dish of the menu. The description read, “Sirloin burger filled with braised short ribs, foie gras, and black truffles served on a Parmesan bun with pommes soufflées.” That’s quite a hamburger, and it cost $29!

The most incredible taste of that night wasn’t burger, however. Compliments of the house (because our table wasn’t ready when we arrived), my brothers and I were given an appetizer of tuna tartare: raw, ground tuna. I realize that sounds gross to most people, and I was a little hesitant to try it. Each of us was given a small spoon with a little tuna on it. That was it. Merely a taste, but what a taste! The flavor exploded in my mouth. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted. If I close my eyes, I can almost taste it now.

That’s what lectio divina’s first step, reading, is like. It’s that slow, that savory, and that explosive.

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Praying the Bible – The Ladder of Lectio Divina

Praying the Bible
Introlectio divinareading – meditating – praying – contemplating

Though dates differ, Guigo II lived from about 1115 to 1198. His official title was the Ninth Prior of the Grand Chartreuse of Carthusians. That’s a mouthful. Here’s what it means: The Carthusians are an order of monks who are particularly strict (for example, they wake up every night at 11:45 P.M. and pray for three hours!). The headquarters of their order is the Grand Chartreuse (Charterhouse), which is just outside of Grenoble, France. The Prior is the leader of the Charterhouse and, therefore, of all Carthusians around the world. Guigo II was the ninth monk to lead the order.

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Praying the Bible – The Bible Is (Still) Alive

Praying the Bible
Introlectio divinareading – meditating – praying – contemplating

For the last couple weeks, I’ve written some ecclesial and theological provocations. For the next couple weeks I’m going to focus on spirituality — namely, prayer — as well as blogging about other things.

I’ve got a couple books out that focus specifically on praying the Bible: the first one is about the ancient art of lectio divina; the second about using prayers from the Bible in our daily lives. I’m going to be posting some material from those books here. This, I hope, will generate discussion in the comment section and throughout the blogosphere in a way that the books themselves cannot. Today, a preface to the practice of lectio divina:

A friend of mine calls the Bible “the nonfiction storybook of God’s interaction with humankind.” Some of us may get hung up on the word storybook, thinking it implies a lack of truth or historicity. But the Bible is a collection of stories, some from the ancient past of Israel and some from the more recent past of Jesus and his early followers. The stories are very much true and very much alive.

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