top of page

Lectio Divina: The Beating Heart of Benedictine Spirituality

Imagine the hushed quiet of a monastery chapel.  A monk sits in stillness, the gentle turning of a Bible's pages the only sound.  This is lectio divina, a cornerstone of Benedictine charism, an essential part of the special spirit God gifted to the Benedictine tradition.

More than a simple Bible study, this ancient practice weaves scripture into the very fabric of our beings.  Lectio divina, meaning "divine reading",  was embraced by monks around the time of St. Benedict in the 6th century. Renewed in the 20th century, especially following the Second Vatican Council's call to revitalize monastic life,  this practice resonates for all Catholics today.

How Lectio Divina Works

At its core, lectio divina has four interconnected steps:

  • Lectio (Reading): We read a Scripture passage slowly, like savoring a fine wine. A single word or phrase might leap out, catching our attention.

  • Meditatio (Meditation): We ponder that word or phrase, exploring its meaning in our own lives and circumstances.

  • Oratio (Prayer): We speak to God openly, offering confessions, praises, or a listening heart seeking guidance.

  • Contemplatio (Contemplation): In silence, we surrender to God's presence, simply resting in the divine embrace.

As we faithfully practice lectio divina, we witness a transformation. The Holy Spirit becomes our constant companion.

Nov Ontos, Within Without, St. Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama

Lectio Divina in Daily Life

As we faithfully practice lectio divina, we witness a transformation. The Holy Spirit becomes our constant companion.  When a challenge arises, a verse studied in this quiet prayer time appears, granting strength.  A chance to give kindness? Scripture urges us to compassion. Through these gentle promptings, God's word shapes our responses.

This powerful encounter with God is further deepened by receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist – a grace the monks of St. Bernard are blessed to experience daily in our beautiful abbey church.

Go Deeper with Fr. Boniface Hicks, O.S.B

At the heart of Lectio Divina is relational prayer. More than a method, it's a conversation between you and God.  To explore this concept further, watch this video where Fr. Boniface Hicks offers insights on what it means to pray to our Father:

Your Invitation

Lectio divina is a gift for everyone seeking growth in faith, hope, and love. Eager to try it for yourself? Here's a great starting point:

  • Choose a short passage: Consider the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading or a few verses from the Psalms.

  • Find a quiet space: Eliminate distractions and create an atmosphere of reverence.

  • Begin!: Let yourself be guided by the four steps and see where the Spirit leads.

We'd love to hear about your experience! Contact us and let us know how your lectio divina session went. May God's word continue to richly bless and transform your life!

Called to become a Benedictine monk?

bottom of page