Greg developed this explanation of how we use the ancient practice of "Lectio Divina" as 21st Century Quakers. Sometimes, we use the practice of Lectio Divina to lead us into open worship.

Lectio Divina


Lectio Divina is a worshipful way of reading the Bible. It involves reading the text multiple times. The principles of Lectio Divina were first expressed around A.D. 220 and practiced by Catholic monks, especially Benedictines. Lectio Divina has sometimes been referred to as "Feasting on the Word."

Lectio Divina consists a progression of four steps, which were formalized by a monk in the 12th Century.

FIRST READING (Lectio)

Just listen without thinking or processing. Read the Bible passage gently and slowly. Listen for the "still, small voice" of God.

SECOND READING (Meditatio)

What word or phrase speaks to me? Write it down if you wish. Reflect on the text of the passage and think about how it applies to one's own life. What is happening in my life that might be causing this word or phrase to stand out? Why did God call this to my attention?

THIRD READING (Oratio)

Why did God bring this word or phrase to my attention? Respond to the passage by opening one's heart to God. Stop thinking, start praying. Rejoice in the fact that God loves us so deeply as to speak to us individually. Allow the words God has placed on our hearts to touch our deepest selves and open ourselves to change.

FOURTH READING (Contemplatio)

Open your heart to what God has to say, then relax in the embrace of GodŐs love. Relax in God's loving embrace, and listen. Free yourself from all of your own words, whether mundane and holy, to make room for God's words. Simply be in God's presence, and trust in God to do or say anything else.

Of course, this being a Quaker meeting, one may speak out of the silence if one feels truly led to break the silence, but given the importance of silence in the practice of lectio divina, the standard for doing so should be exceptionally high.