“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tm 3:16–17)
The exercise in day 2 asked that we recount our relationship with Christ. This required us to consider our life’s story and how God has had a place in it. Today, we look at God’s life story and how it unfolds in Sacred Scripture. The purpose of this exercise is not to learn more about God in an objective sense, but to encounter the living God in his word. The Bible is more than just a book, it is an opportunity to encounter God himself. Thus, we need to approach reading the Bible in a different way that any other kind of reading we do. The Church calls this kind of reading lectio divina.
Exercise: Lectio Divina
Lectio divina is an act of sacred reading. It is not any ordinary way of reading the Bible. We read and pray with God’s word meditating on its meaning in itself (lectio), its meaning for us (meditatio), and then respond to God in prayer (oratio) and personal transformation (contemplatio).
How do you do lectio divina? There are many different ways to encounter Christ in God’s word. Here are just a few:
- Place yourself in the passage as a bystander.
- Imagine that you are one of the people in the story.
- Draw the passage.
- Focus on one word or phrase from the passage and be open to its meaning in your life.
After your meditation, respond to what you’ve read by a short, simple conversation with Christ. Imagine yourself speaking with him. What would you say? What would you ask? What would he tell you?
Finally, end with a consideration of how God is calling you to change in your life. What personal transformation must you be open to as a result of reading this passage? This is an act of “contemplation.”
Here at The Religion Teacher you will find a resource for teaching lectio divina to your students called Lectio Divina for Children and Teens: Activities to Help Young People Encounter God’s Word. It contains a series of worksheets and guided reflections for students to use in building up the skills that are needed to pray with God’s word. These worksheets are great for students but they are also helpful for you as the religious educator.
You can download and use one of these worksheets for yourself here: Lectio Divina Worksheet.