By Monica Manser
Lectio Divina – Listening to God’s Word with our hearts
“And the word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us”
In Imaginative Contemplation we pray with the Scriptures, allowing Christ in the Scriptures to speak to us through our imagination. In Lectio Divina we pray with the Scriptures by dwelling on God’s word by listening with our heart. In Imaginative Contemplation, Jesus’ words, actions, teaching and relationships with people become familiar to us when we enter into the Scripture passage using our imagination. In Lectio Divina, God’s word becomes familiar to us by listening with out hearts and dwelling on His words. Listening with our hearts is something we do automatically in everyday life when we for example dwell on the beauty of nature or listening to someone we love or recall a poignant memory.
Lectio Divina or divine reading has four parts: reading, repeating, responding and resting.
Reading: Begin by reading the Scripture Passage slowly until a word or a phrase resonates with you. Then stop for the moment.
Repeating: Dwell on the words you have chosen. Repeat them again and again as though God is saying them to you. Try not to analyse them, just let them speak to you. Savour the words.
Responding: Be like Mary and “ponder these things in your heart”. Allow God’s heart to speak to your heart. He wants to be close to you so ask yourself what this invitation could mean. Speak to God with your heart. Be open to what he is trying to reveal to you. Share with God whatever is coming into your heart and mind.
Resting: Rest in the embrace and love of God. It is God’s response to us. Your whole being is focussed on God so dwell in the moment. When you feel ready, move on.
As you listen to the following passage, note which parts move you but don’t analyse anything. Then when you are ready, read, repeat, respond and rest and when you have dwelt on the words that initially resonated with you, continue on reading the passage and repeat the process.
Acknowledge you are in the presence of God by saying the following prayer:
Direct O Lord and guide and influence all that is happening in my mind and heart during this time of prayer: all my moods and feelings, my memories and imaginings; my hopes and desires; may all be directed and influenced to your greater glory, praise and service and to my growth in your Spirit.
Let the Spirit enter our hearts and enlighten our minds as we listen to and reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus. Let us follow Jesus up the mountain so that we too can witness his divinity.
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone.
There in their presence he was transfigured; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. “Lord,” he said “it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.” When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. “Stand up,” he said “do not be afraid.” And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, “Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”
Questions for reflection
As you slowly read the passage allow the image of the Transfigured Christ soak into your being. You may want to reflect on the passage before a painting or an icon of the Transfiguration.
What is this passage saying to you?
What word(s), sentence or phrase most caught your attention; most touched your heart; most challenged you; most comforted you?
What does Jesus’ Transfiguration mean to you? Has your faith in Jesus ever given you a moment of transfiguration; perhaps a feeling of great joy and clarity? How have these moments given you the strength to cope during difficult times?
Do you hear God the Father inviting you to be silent and listen to his Son? Do you hear his invitation, his words of encouragement as he tells you “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour”?
How can you transfigure both your personal life and the lives of those you encounter each day? How do you radiate the joy, peace and love of the transfigured Christ in a world full of gloom?
Listen to Jesus telling you not to be afraid. Let us pray to be receptive to Jesus’ Transfiguration and actualise it in our every day lives.
Suscipe of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
Scripture texts: from the Jerusalem Bible 1966 by Dartington Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd