Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina, literally meaning "divine reading," is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the "ear of the heart," as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one's relationship with the Divine.

Waking Up and Growing Up

Series: 
Voices of Community

Fr. Thomas has asked the Centering Prayer community to spend the next year going back to basics. For much of the past 12 years I have been revisiting Thomas’ teachings on Centering Prayer and the Christian spiritual journey by serving at least one long Centering Prayer intensive retreat a year in which I prepare by reading both Open Mind, Open Heart and Invitation to Love. This may seem a little over board in terms of preparation but I find each yearly reading brings me closer to absorbing the materials with my heart rather than my head.

 

How to Create a Weekly Intensive Retreat Experience: “The Mini Midweek Retreat”

Series: 
Voices of Community

During one of the retreats while I was in the silence of my room, I began to think about several individuals in my Centering Prayer Group who, because of medical problems, caregiving responsibilities, or lack of funds, would never be able to attend an eight-day silent retreat.

 
For many years, the Phoenix Chapter of Contemplative Outreach has partnered with the Trappistine sisters at Santa Rita Abbey to use their retreat facilities for two, eight-day intensive retreats a year, usually in January and February. This intimate retreat center next to their abbey is located close to the Santa Rita Mountains in southeast Arizona.
 

Lectio Divina and Attuning to the Spirit

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q: Recently I attended a poetry gathering … The young man who teaches poetry used Lectio Divina as a method to find interpretation of the poetry and called it that. If he had called it repetition and discernment, perhaps I would not have had difficulty with it. However, he did not use Scripture but secular poetry. I did some research on Lectio Divina and found that it is misused in many contexts and by different faith structures. Would you please comment on the use of Lectio Divina?

Q: Recently I attended a poetry gathering … The young man who teaches poetry used Lectio Divina as a method to find interpretation of the poetry and called it that. If he had called it repetition and discernment, perhaps I would not have had difficulty with it. However, he did not use Scripture but secular poetry. I did some research on Lectio Divina and found that it is misused in many contexts and by different faith structures. Would you please comment on the use of Lectio Divina?
 

What Texts to Use With Lectio Divina

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I've been listening to The Spiritual Journey on CD's and watching DVD's to become thoroughly familiar with Centering Prayer.  I am praying Lectio Divina, per Fr. Keating's guidelines of the 4 R's (Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest).  Is Lectio [used with] only the four Gospels, or does it include all of Sacred Scripture?  Sometimes I am greatly attracted to an Old Testament reading or one of the writings of St. Paul and wondered if those texts are part of Lectio.

Q:  I've been listening to The Spiritual Journey on CD's and watching DVD's to become thoroughly familiar with Centering Prayer.  I am praying Lectio Divina, per Fr. Keating's guidelines of the 4 R's (Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest).  Is Lectio [used with] only the four Gospels, or does it include all of Sacred Scripture?  Sometimes I am greatly attracted to an Old Testament reading or one of the writings of St. Paul and wondered if those texts are part of Lectio.
 

Praying to the Old Man on the Throne?

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  Recently, when I concluded my session of Centering Prayer and recited the Lord's Prayer, as is my custom, I was struck by the disparity between the Trinity in Whom and with Whom I had just been abiding, and the "God in heaven" who seemed to resume his cloak of an old white man on a throne far, far away.  Am I taking the opening of the Lord's Prayer too literally? 

Q:  Recently, when I concluded my session of Centering Prayer and recited the Lord's Prayer, as is my custom, I was struck by the disparity between the Trinity in Whom and with Whom I had just been abiding, and the "God in heaven" who seemed to resume his cloak of an old white man on a throne far, far away.  Am I taking the opening of the Lord's Prayer too literally? 

A:  Thank you for your question: Am I taking the opening of the Lord's Prayer too literally?  You are bringing up a very insightful observation.

What are you doing here? A Centering Prayer Reflection

Series: 
Voices of Community

... Like so many before, I started by first seeking happiness – that illusive entity which is so physical and sensory when young. Happiness seemed to equate to pleasure, but pleasure is a fickle and fleeting ally. No sooner was I satisfied when I would desire again. Like the wind, it could be felt but not grasped. God was not in such pleasure. ...

"The Lord said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?
Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord,
for the Lord is about to pass by.'"

- 1 Kings 19: 9,11

Monkey Mind on Extended Retreat

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I have been on many extended 8 - 10 retreats. On them I always have trouble going to sleep. The monkey mind is relentless! On my recent 10 day retreat at Snowmass, it got worse as the retreat progressed...

Q:  I have been on many extended 8 - 10 retreats. On them I always have trouble going to sleep. The monkey mind is relentless! On my recent 10 day retreat at Snowmass, it got worse as the retreat progressed. And, I hiked 2+ hours every afternoon. At home I have no trouble sleeping. I generally need 9-10 hours of sleep. Any suggestions or perspective?

Centering Prayer and Mental Illness

Series: 
Q&A with Fr. Carl J. Arico

Q:  I am hoping to get some direction for myself and a community I work with.  I have schizo-affective mental illness, ...  Meds never controls that aspect of our lives completely.  We are hoping to find a safe and effective way to embrace silence and solitude for a part of our recovery process.    The challenge for us is that stillness and quiet leads to very disturbing hallucinations that we are all at varying degrees of knowing how to deal with.

Q:  I am hoping to get some direction for myself and a community I work with.  I have schizo-affective mental illness, diagnosed when I was 28.  I have had regular bouts with varying degrees of psychosis.  Meds never controls that aspect of our lives completely.  The group I work with has the same issues.  We are hoping to find a safe and effective way to embrace silence and solitude for a part of our recovery process.    The challenge for us is that stillness and quiet leads to very disturbin