Lectio Divina with the Carmelites

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"Lectio divina with the Carmelites" by Michael T Carrillo (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: By Adrian Falconieau (2003), Flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In my December 2018 article I briefly mentioned that I had discovered the Lectio Divina. The Lectio is a means to pray the Scriptures. The Catholic monastic communities have used it for centuries. I have found it as an excellent means to not only pray Scripture, but also a means to study it.

There are several past articles in CatholicMom.com that explain the Lectio in depth. I want to recommend a resource that is helpful not only in meditation but also in Scripture study. That source comes from the Carmelites in the official website of the Carmelite Order. There is information on the site not only for the Carmelites worldwide but for the general public. There are three languages to choose from: English, Spanish, and Italian.

The hermits and desert fathers in the Holy Land influenced the formation of the Carmelites in the early 13th century. Over the centuries the Carmelites adopted the Lectio Divina to develop their understanding and knowledge about Jesus. The Lectio is a part of their daily spiritual life.

The Lectio is on the homepage of the website. The site provides the daily Lectio and instructions on how it is prayed. This is where it gets exciting. The daily Lectio comes directly from the daily Mass readings, specifically the Gospel. The Gospel is listed, followed by a commentary. Whoever writes these commentaries does a wonderful job at not only explaining the Gospel message, but also in explaining the context of the times of Jesus and the purpose of what the Evangelist was trying to say to his community. The reading is broken down into bite-size pieces and then analyzed beautifully. For me it really brings the Gospel alive. The commentaries have shown me how to slow-down my reading and develop a sense of what the analysis might be about. It is spiritually and intellectually stimulating.

The commentator then provides reflection questions based upon the Gospel. The closing prayer is usually a Psalm; many times it is the Psalm from the daily Mass readings.

The final act of the Lectio Divina is Contemplatio, which the website describes as “rest.” We completely let go and bask in God. Setting aside everything, we wait for revelations that God wants to reveal to us. Beautiful.

In the past several months using the Carmelite website, I feel I have gained not only a deeper knowledge about Jesus, I have been able to study Scripture at the same time. It’s a win-win!

If you want to develop a deeper sense of Scripture and use it as a means of prayer, I encourage you to practice the Lectio Divina. If you want to extend your knowledge of Scripture at the same time, please consider using the Carmelite website. It only takes about 5-10 minutes a day and you will notice a difference in how you view our Scripture.


Copyright 2019 Michael T Carrillo

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About Author

Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.

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