Our Carmelite Rule bids us to ponder the Lord's law day and night. We long, like Mary, to hear the Word and do it; to live on the gospel, like St Thérèse. It is there we meet Jesus and grow into His mind and heart.
The Word of God fills each day - we hear it at Mass, and each time we come together for the Liturgy of the Hours. Each of us also takes time each day to ponder the Scriptures during our personal prayer/reading time, and we find the method of Lectio Divina most helpful (see outline below). This is a popular way of praying with Scripture that dates back to the early centuries when monks would pray deeply with a single passage of Scripture learnt off by heart. They carried this Word of God with them throughout the day, into their ordinary routine of work in the monastery, meaning that they contemplated the Word constantly; ruminating on it like 'chewing the cud'!!.
Once a week we come together for a group Lectio Divina, and we gain great insight and spiritual nourishment from listening to each other. We marvel at the many different reflections that can result from even a very short Gospel passage. This is a demonstration of the power of the Word of God, to speak to each person individually in their lives. (Below are some guidelines for a group Lectio Divina session).
METHOD OF LECTIO DIVINA
Before beginning select
the text from Scripture that you will use. Try not to choose
too long an extract. It is a good idea to choose the Mass reading for
that day, or the Gospel for the following Sunday.
Lectio (Read): Read the text slowly over and over again, and if possible aloud. Become familiar with the characters and their actions. What kind of text is it? What are the action words? What does the text say in itself?
Meditatio (Meditate): Put your imagination to work and enter into the text. Which of the characters are you in the text? What does the text say to you? Stay with one of the characters or a phrase for some time.
Oratio (Pray): Respond to the text by prayer - a spontaneous response to God that draws from the actual words of the text. Prayer can be in praise, thanksgiving, repentance or petition.
Contemplatio (Contemplate): Continue to savour the Word, now more deeply rooted within you, during your normal daily life so that all your actions and circumstances are made and experienced in the light of the Word.
In a group setting the following structure may be helpful:
Read about our personal prayer time to grow in relationship with Christ