The method of lectio divina, sacred reading, was formulated in the 1100’s by Guigo, a Carthusian monk, as a prayerful way to help one to better understand the mysteries of the Bible and to deepen a relationship with God. Despite its simplicity, or because of it, the regular practice of lectio divina provides immense graces.
- Reading — Select a brief passage from the Bible and read it slowly, allowing the Word of God to penetrate one’s mind.
- Meditation — Think about the Scripture and the particular meaning being given.
- Response — As inspired by the Bible passage, converse with God about the movements of one’s heart and mind.
- Contemplation — Put aside deliberate thoughts, ideas, and machinations. Attentively and simply rest in the presence of the Lord.
The method of interior prayer articulated by St. Teresa of Jesus for the Discalced Carmel helps cultivate the practice for people at all stages of spiritual development.
- Preparation – Humbly acknowledge the presence of God with a lively faith.
- Reading – Use Scripture or the writings of the Church and Saints to guide topic and conversation with God.
- Meditation – Personally reflect, intellectually and affectively, upon the divine gift or mystery selected for consideration.
- Colloquy – Abandon oneself to God in the exercise of love and its manifestation.
- Thanksgiving – Give humble gratitude to the Lord for all of the gifts received.
- Offering – Moved by loving gratitude, resolve to give something to His Majesty.
- Petition – Humbly implore God’s assistance for success in all resolutions and in truly loving.
Masterwork. Mental prayer consists essentially in a loving conversation with God. The humble and direct Little Catechism of the Life of Prayer by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD gives an excellent primer on the Teresian Method for leading a prayerful life.