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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.