The first part of lectio divina is of course reading. The modern method of studying the scriptures has placed great stress on information and less stress on formation. Certainly both methods have their place. One cannot expect to develop spiritual formation without some knowledge of the texts he is using to develop the formation just as one will have difficulty developing spiritual formation if all he does is seek knowledge. We know that knowledge provides the tools to develop spiritually but it alone doesn’t insure that the spiritual development.
The process of lectio divina is more monastic than scholastic. It seeks to find the deeper meaning in a text. It looks for a way to move the words into action by changing the heart. Reading in this process is a matter of looking for the message and responding to it. This process of reading focuses on the text at hand until it has had time to ‘sink’ in. Rather than seeing how many verses can be read, this reading seeks to devour the verses or cluster of verses chosen. This process may take a single reading or it might take many.
Those using this reading approach are in no hurry to move on, at least not until the deeper meaning of the text is found and assimilated. How that is accomplished is unveiled in the next three parts. Check back tomorrow for part two.