I ~ Lectio: Read
Gently read the scriptures, slowly savouring and repeating the parts of the text that speak to the depths of your heart. Listen to the Word “with the ear of your heart’, and be willing to linger on portions of the text that seem to speak to you in a special way.
Through repetition, gently allow the text to percolate into your memory. Be willing to set the printed text aside and to listen quietly to the Word that you have taken into your heart.
II ~ Meditatio: Reflect
Lovingly and slowly repeat the text you have internalized. Allow this interior “mulling over” to help the text “yield its savor”. Allow the text to interact with your memories, your hopes, your concerns. Don’t be afraid of “distractions”; simply acknowledge them and let go of them, always returning to the portion of Scriptures you have taken into your heart.
III ~ Oratio: Respond
Let the text summon you to a place before the Lord all of yourself. Make the Word you have taken into yourself be a real word of consecration – a Word of blessing and a means of offering to the Lord your deepest hopes and concerns. Let the gentle repetition of the Word lead you into dialogue with the God Who originally inspired the text, and Who has now used the Scriptures as a way of drawing you into His presence.
IV ~ Contemplatio: Rest
As you feel called to do so, simply rest silently in the presence of the Lord. Be willing to let go of the text that has let you into God’s presence. Enjoy the sweetness of silent communion with the God Who stands behind the Scriptures.
Recognize that these steps are not stages in an orderly process: they are a way of allowing the inner rhythms of our spiritual lives to become more and more charged with the presence of God. We are not to judge the quality of our Lectio by how much or little time we spend in any of the above activities. The rhythm of the Lectio Divina reflects the rhythm of our lives: we may move from one step to another without realizing it; and we may find several steps coexisting at the same time. Lectio Divina is simply a way of experiencing in our reading of the Scriptures what God intends our whole lives to become – a continuous experience of His Presence, a continual and unending prayer.
Who Will Lead Me Into the Strong City?
Who will lead me into the strong city?* who will bring me into Edom? – Psalm 108: 10 BCP
Lectio: Read, Reflect, Respond, Rest.
Read: the Text over several times and commit to memory.
Reflect: This part of the Psalm is quoted from Psalm 60:7-12; the first part of the Psalm can be found in Psalm 57:7-11. The question is rhetorical. The prayer is addressed to Elohim who has said, “I will exult and parcel out Shechem; I will divide the valley of Succoth.” – v. 7. The Psalmist knows the answer before he asks his question, and he expects that you also will know the answer.
My appreciation of this verse is based on prior experience. I have literally ridden on horseback into the strong city, into Petra in Jordan. When I entered what I saw was splendid ruins, faded glory, conquered and devastated power, and behind the glorious façade small empty rooms.
The ‘strong city’ is a metaphor for difficult challenges. After the strong city has been broached one often finds that only ruins remain.
In the course of life I have with God, Elohim, the Triune God, conquered many personal “enemies,” many situations which in themselves, apart from grace, were too big for me to tackle.
“With God we will do valiant deeds,* and he shall tread our enemies under foot.” – Psalm 108:13. The word ‘valiant’ is khali.yil also meaning strength, might, efficiency, wealth, and army. I note that ‘efficiency’ is included in the extended meaning of ‘valiant’. Lest I be overcome with the call to be valiant, strong and efficient, I hear St. Augustine say, “Give what you command. Command what you will.” The Psalmist says, “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased” [Psalm 138:3]. When he calls us to be valiant, He stands ready to give us the strength when we ask for it.
There is no strong city that by grace I cannot overcome. “Grant us your help against the enemy,* and he shall tread our enemies under foot.’ – psalm 108:13
Respond: “Looking at it that way my Lord, the challenges of this particular day are small in comparison with those that I’ve faced in the past. And even if this were not so, still by your grace, I can overcome whatever is placed before me. Sometimes I make the mistake of projecting, of bringing tomorrow’s challenges into today, and I have to remind myself to live one day at a time. Thank you for the grace and strength to meet the challenges before me.”
Rest: “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” [Psalm 105:4]. In sharing this as a group Lectio Divina it was apparent that the members of our Chapter were experiencing the Presence of God at this point on our Lectio.