“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,
@@and my Father will love him,
@@@@and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23

 

 

Openness to lectio divina: dealing with problems

There are numerous common problems in lectio divina that most people experience, especially when starting out in this rather different way of seeking and listening to God.

The feeling that nothing is happening is exceedingly common. The sensation of sitting in darkness or that the words are just totally opaque is also common and extremely frustrating. One of the root causes of a number of the problems associated with lectio divina is an expectation either that no experience of the divine is going to occur, or approaching it asking for evidence first before opening up to God speaking to us in Scripture.

Lectio Divina is first and foremost an act of faith in the promises of Christ. Tentative steps in the direction of trying to hear God are still acts of faith – we may be slow to grasp things but God’s gift of faith, which lies within us, is always strong. Don’t be afraid. Even the most tentative step that we make in God’s direction still makes God happy.

No form of prayer can survive a “results-thirsty” expectation, yet we should also believe that God is present in Scripture, and wishes to speak to us through it, and that we will be able to hear him. Lectio Divina is an experience of Jesus Christ. You can meet with him in Scripture, present on every page and behind every word and you should believe this as firmly as if you could see him with your own eyes. Lectio Divina is a reading that, if you do it with faith, you will be able to hear what God wishes to say to you here and now.

Perhaps the first error after accepting this is to think then that the achievement of the aim of hearing God is just dependent upon how hard I seek and analyse and use my intellect. One of the paradoxes of lectio divina is that it is both active and passive. 
Lectio divina is passive because God is the initiator; it is not by your own work that you can hear what God would like you to hear today, but instead through the reading the Spirit brings your ear to God’s beating heart. Yet lectio divina is also active in that it requires that you give yourself over to it decisively - it is not about sitting with a Bible, letting the head roll back and allowing the imagination to wander, waiting for waves of words of God to wash over you. Lectio divina is to subvert one’s own will to the will of God. It is in this sense a work.

These are many words about listening to God and in many senses they are foolish words because to fill one's head with words about what to do and how to do it and be worrying about whether you are being open enough or active enough or passive enough is quite distracting.

Be certain that the promise of Christ, “seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you”, is dependable. Trust God.

When you read and you don’t seem to get anything from it immediately, don’t think that you have been deceived; remember that:
as the rain and snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat, so it is with the word that goes forth from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.” (Isaiah 55)

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Page last updated on 16 February, 2015