Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lectio Divina for Western Rite Orthodox

Ari has posted Part One of a most edifying article by Dom James Deschene on the forgotten Orthodox art of lectio divina. A Benedictine monk with years of experience in canonical Orthodox monasticism, Dom James speaks as a master of prayer. (Of course, he'd immediately shun that appelation.) Reviving and promoting lectio within Orthodoxy, and specifically within the Western Rite, is something of an attachment of mine. Next to the four-fold interpretation of Scripture, there is perhaps no ancient Orthodox practice is as neglected as lectio; unlike hermeneutics, though, lectio is a direct communication with God -- and vice-versa. Dom James discusses the difficulties of unlearning previous methods of reading to experience the spiritual blessings St. Benedict envisioned for the followers of his Holy Rule.
The heart, in this sense, has the capacity to integrate the whole of us - body, sense, mind, soul, spirit - into a blessed wholeness, a harmony in which all our faculties bloom forth in truest spiritual health and we become a living hymn of praise - not by our words but in our very being. Monastic lectio - which is nothing more or less than reading with the heart - is one of the means to such healing of our wounded being. It is an art worthy of cultivation by all Orthodox Christians as part of a well-balanced and fruitful life of prayer.

Read the whole article here. We eagerly look forward to Part Two.

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