Tag Archives: Lectio Divina


Seek light

One of the gifts of retreat is that in the slowing down and stepping away from daily life and routines, it is easier to pay attention to what God is stirring up inside me, to notice what I notice and to take time to reflect on what I notice. It is the practice of mindfulness, and quiet days of retreat offer ample time to pay attention to God.

Coming back from retreat and stepping back into life challenges me to find ways to slow down during the day and continue to notice what is catching my attention.

I once heard someone explaining Lectio Divina using the image of the sun shimmering on the ocean—the way that glistening is difficult to miss and can be mesmerizing.Lent-God-spiritualityWatching the sun rise over water is an image that returns to me repeatedly. I don’t take many pictures, but whenever I am blessed to see the sun rising over water, out comes my camera. Perhaps because it is such a concrete example of light breaking through the darkness.

Praying with Isaiah 58:1-9 the other day, the phrase, then your light shall break forth like the dawn, brought to mind many times I have watched the sun rise over a wide expanse of water.

Every sunrise is different, depending on the clouds, but every sunrise speaks to me of potential and blessing. Every morning brings a chance to try again, to start over. Watching the darkness recede and the sky fill with light reminds me of that gift of hope that God gives me again and again.

If yesterday wasn’t the best day, if I was judgmental or critical or impatient, God gives me another chance today to do things differently, to try another way.Lent-God-spiritualityTell people there’s another way, was something my friend Jim instructed me during the weeks before he died. The other way he was referring to was one of trust and hope, rather than fear and despair. His other way meant living fully and thanking God for everything. In the face of the death, he believed in life.

Words and images from that time of Jim’s illness and death are coming back to me this Lent. I am doing something new, (Isaiah 43:19) God is telling me again this Lent. What that is, I have yet to discover. I just need to pay attention, stay open, look toward the light and be ready to say yes.Lent-God-spirituality


Pins in my journal

Seeking a new knitting pattern, my sister suggested I look on Pinterest. I had signed up for Pinterest several years ago, but found the site overwhelming. Things seem to appear and then disappear for no discernable reason. It was beyond me.

“You have to create boards and then pin things you like on the boards,” my sister counseled. “Otherwise, you may never find them again,” she added. That had certainly been my experience.

So I created a board (called “Knitting”) and began pinning patterns I liked.

Once demystified, I can now visit Pinterest with confidence. The secret is to recognize when something catches my attention—even briefly—and “pin” it to a board.

This method of adding things of interest to Pinterest boards reminds me of praying lectio divina—that prayer method that invites me to notice the words or phrases in Scripture that catch my attention and then to spend some time in prayer with the images and ideas generated by those words. My journal is where I “pin” my Scripture ideas.

I write in my journal every morning, reviewing the previous day and recording thoughts and actions. I also record night dreams and day dreams, and I write whatever catches my attention during my morning prayer. At the beginning of the year, I write plans and goals for the year, and at the end of the year, I re-read my journals from that year. Before meeting with my spiritual director each month, I read what I have written since my last meeting with her.

I interact with my journal frequently. It is much more low-tech than Pinterest, but it is the system that works for me.

It would be easy for me to get hooked on Pinterest. Each click leads to something else of interest and is an invitation to keep exploring and collecting pins.

I think Scripture is like that, too. Each reading invites me to go deeper and collect bits of insight and wisdom. Each reading leads me to a deeper understanding of how to be more loving and forgiving. Spending time in prayer reminds me of God’s love and offers direction for my life.

Yesterday, before I met with my spiritual director, I reviewed my journal for the last month, and noticed a theme of growth. The words of Scripture that caught my attention had to do with watered gardens and gurgling springs (Isaiah 58:11) and cultivating the ground (Luke 13:8). On several occasions, I had written about moving beyond shoulds and oughts and being the person God created me to me—no matter how outrageous she may be.

The words of Scripture encourage me to keep growing, and give me hope that God does really call me His “delight” (Isaiah 62:4). I want to be that person—God’s delight—and keep “pinning” God’s promises in my journal and on my heart.

Promptings, part two

The novice approached the Novice Mistress and asked, “May I knit while I pray?”

“No,” the Novice Mistress answered. “You must pray when you pray.”

A while later, the novice again approached the Novice Mistress. “May I pray while I knit?”

“Of course,” the Novice Mistress replied. “You must pray always.”

Lectio Divina is an ancient prayer method which is part of my Parish Lenten program this year and is a method of prayer I have used for many years. I don’t remember exactly when I learned it, maybe thirty years ago, but it suits me.

I think of Lectio Divina as a combination of time spent in silence, meditating on the Word of God, and of time spent in daily life, still meditating on the Word of God. Whatever word God speaks to me during my morning prayer, I take with me throughout the day. The practice of repeating a word or phrase from Scripture keeps me in conversation with God as I go about my life.

Being familiar with Lectio Divina, I offered to lead the prayer times during our Parish Lenten program. Stepping up like this is just the kind of thing I have usually resisted. Fear has prevented me from offering. I am the person who does not ask questions during Q&A sessions or contribute much to group discussions. I fear saying the wrong thing and looking foolish. Fear is a powerful paralyzer.

But my Lenten plans included identifying my fears and bringing them to God for healing. Setting this as my intention has kept it on my mind and in my prayer. And seeing the opportunity to share something I know and love (Lectio Divina) seemed like an invitation from God to face my fears.

We are praying with the Scriptures of the coming Sunday; this week, we prayed with Romans 5:1-2, 5-8. “Poured out” was the phrase that caught my attention. Poured out, I repeated to myself.

A memory from work popped into my mind.

The previous day, I had facilitated the women’s cancer support group. By the end of the group session, I felt poured out—so much sharing, so many emotions.

I continued pondering what had happened during that session, and I realized it was not me who had been poured out. I was merely a spectator while others shared their fears and hopes.

I have been poured out in the past, living in that liminal space where I am aware of my vulnerability and know my total dependence on God. Being poured out is immediate and visceral.

At prayer the next morning, the phrase at a distance caught my attention in two separate places—Peter following after Jesus’ arrest and the Israelites when Moses climbed Mount Sinai. They were afraid, and they kept their distance.

These two phrases stand in contrast—poured out and at a distance.

My prayer is to grow in trust so that my fears diminish and I can again be poured out.