Savoring God’s Presence Within You (Lectio Divina Meditation)

Posted On September 9, 2017

Meditation is an awakening to, an awareness of, the presence of God within you, Thomas Merton writes.  It’s our personal encounter with Christ, an experience beyond words of the unique relationship between our self and the One who created us.  
 
When we spend time with a loved one, we naturally develop a deeper relationship with them.  We come to know them, discover their unique attributes and personality. We experience them, and in doing so we learn more about them and about ourselves.
 
It’s the same with God.  As we spend time with the Creator in solitude, we learn more about him and more about ourselves.  It’s kind of like dating, and then marrying our life partner. As the relationship grows and deepens, we discover that God is love, someone who wishes to communicate with us, who desires to guide and lead us into wholeness. We discover more of who God is, and who we are. And in so doing, we learn how we relate to each other, how to experience each other. Uniquely. Divinely. Experientially.
 
Lectio Divina (divine reading) is one practice that invites us into that deeper experience and relationship with God and our self.  It’s an ancient practice revived by St. Benedict and used by the monks to deepen and enrich their inner lives.  The practice of Lectio Divina is gaining popularity today as individuals explore some of the ancient ways wise men and women found deeper balance, wholeness, and inner peace.
 
To experience the practice, first set aside a time to be alone with God. Open an inspirational book or scripture and find a short phrase or paragraph that you desire to take with you into the solitude.
 
For example, “The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need,” is a phrase that I often like to ponder as I sit in the Quiet. Whatever you take with you into your time alone with God, let it be short and simple, something that speaks to you, and something that stirs your heart. 
 
Next, sit still, and take a few deep breaths to relax your body. Then read the words you’ve chosen either silently or aloud. Let the words roll around inside of you like a stream gently bubbling over river rocks. Savor the words.  Experience their aroma. Let the words ripple inside you.
 
Notice if there’s a specific word or group of words in the text you’ve selected that catches your attention, that piques your interest. If so, ponder those words.  What do they mean to you?  What attracts your attention to them?
 
Sit.  Be still. Breathe.
 
After a minute or so, read the phrase you’ve selected a second time.  Use the same manner of letting the words simply be present within you.
 
Notice. Ponder. Become aware of whatever stirs within you.
 
If there’s an image that rises up in you, let it spark your imagination. Play with the image. Let it unfold within you. How does the image speak to you about yourself, about God?
 
Sit. Be still. Breathe.
 
After a few minutes, read the phrase a third time.  Listen. Let your mind sink into and connect with your heart.
 
Sit.  Be still. Breathe.
 
As you sit in the Quiet, ask yourself and the Creator, “What wisdom, what deeper understanding comes to me as I’ve pondered these words?”
 
For example, by sitting with the phrase, “The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need,” I imagine Christ as a kind and gentle farmer who takes care of me, who leads and guides me, who tends my soul. And I realize, I do have everything I need.  Maybe not everything I want, but everything I need—food, water, shelter, and love.  And in that realization, I feel safe, secure, and grateful.
 
You might consider keeping a journal to record your insights as you practice Lectio Divina.Your journal entry might be as simple as, “I am safe.”  If you want, you can periodically go back and re-read your journal. It may become for you a living record of the deeper understanding you’ve discovered about yourself and about your relationship with the Source of Your Being.
 
 
—brian j plachta
 
Click the Link below to hear the Podcast:
 
Lectio Divina Meditation

Written by Brian J. Plachta

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