Monthly Archives: March 2012

Elements of Mystic tradition: The “Lectio Divina”

Now considered to be a staple of the Christian mystic tradition, the “Lectio Divina”” can be seen as a form of contemplative prayer in which the practitioner reads scripture with the specific intent of creating a mystic union with God.

This is done not by focusing on the words of the passage that one reads, but by physically experiencing the message of the text. In order to properly accomplish this, it is recommended that one follow the steps of the author Guigo II, who turned the practice into a four step process in the 12th century. These guidelines provide a blueprint for the believer who wishes to practice the “Lectio Divina”, they include: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.

  • Reading: In the first step of this contemplative exercise, the practitioner is encouraged to read the scripture. In preparation for this, the believer is instructed to enter a tranquil state of mind. Once this has been achieved, it is recommended that the selected passage be read multiple times.
  • Meditation: At the heart of this mystic practice is meditation. This requires that the believer listen for the message of the scripture as delivered by God.
  • Prayer: An integral step in achieving a mystic union with God, prayer allows for the believer to communicate with God in order to hear the message of the text.
  • Contemplate: The final step in this endeavor, contemplative thought occurs after the process is complete in order to reflect on the message God has given the believer.

For the believer who wishes to gain a mystical union with God, the “Lectio Divina” allows for the quiet of thought to be an avenue for God to speak directly to the believer. It is for this reason that this method of reading scripture has become a mainstay of the Christian mystic tradition.


The Process of Canonization for Catholic Saints

The Catholic Church defines canonization as the official process by which one is made a saint.  Early in church history, those who were considered Catholic saints would be placed in tombs that would be considered sacred. When the quality of those granted sainthood was called into question, it was decided that more care should be taken as to who was worthy of this honor.

This idea developed through the centuries, culminating in the establishment of an official process to investigate sainthood eligibility by Pope Gregory XI in 1234.

Though popes throughout church history have revised the qualifications one must meet in order to be named among the Catholic saints, the core process has remained constant. The process for establishing sainthood begins when a person dies who has fame of sanctity.

When this occurs, their life is investigated by a bishop, who evaluates whether they are deserving of being named among the Catholic saints. If this person is found worthy, their information is sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, which attempts to establish if the person lived according to the virtues of faith.

If the candidate satisfies these requirements, he or she may be considered venerable. Throughout this process, a devil’s advocate, or person who argues against canonization, is commissioned.

The final step in the process of being named among the Catholic saints is beatification. In order to become beatified, the candidate must be credited with a miracle. This will grant the candidate restricted veneration. After this is established, the recognition of a second miracle is required for the candidate to be called among the Catholic saints.

Throughout Church history, the proof of miracle has been a requirement for all that are selected for candidacy, aside from martyrs, who may be canonized without proof of a miracle.