Friday, March 16, 2012

lectio divina

Workshop of Robert Campin,
Annunciation Triptych (Merode Altarpeice), c. 1427-32.
Metropolitan Museum of ArtWikimedia Commons.
"Found most commonly but not exclusively in writings on monastic spirituality, . . . the phrase lectio divina . . . refers to a 'holy reading' of the Scriptures. . . . Lectio aims to draw out the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures in order for the [reader] to grow in God's wisdom revealed through the Word. Thus, the kind of scriptural interpretation on which lectio is based is neither scientific nor historical-critical, nor is its reflection on the Word aimed at theological insight (in the modern sense of academic theology). Rather, it aims at disclosing the God who speaks through the Word and at shaping an appropriate response in thought, prayer, and the conduct of one's life. It is theological in the sense that it praises and acknowledges the God who reveals, and [that] it responds to God by deepening conversion of mind and heart in life. It is dialogical in the sense that it restores the sacred Scriptures to their original status as proclamations to be heard and responded to. It reveres the Scriptures as divine address requiring a humble and forthright response. [One] does not engage in lectio divina for the sake of being intellectually informed or enlightened; rather, [one] engages in lectio truly to 'listen' and respond to God's invitation to lead a fuller and richer life illumined by God's revealed Word and through God's gracious invitation and action.
     ". . . The way in which monastics practiced this holy reading . . . was to speak the words aloud and to meditate on their meaning (meditatio) by repeating them and truly savoring their meaning. The term rumination describes this holy exercise. One literally 'chewed over' the sacred text to savor and digest it. . . .
     ". . . Mary . . . stands as a model [such] listener and believer. Depictions of Mary praying over the Scriptures as Gabriel visited her to make his announcement envision how believers . . . should ponder God's Word, welcome it, and obey it. . . ."
     Kevin W. Irwin, "Lectio Divina," Encyclopedia of Monasticism (edited by William H. Johnston; Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000) 1:750-752.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Greek:  καιρός, "right or proper time."

"Fullness of time; the propitious moment for the performance of an action or the coming into being of a new state."

     Oxford English dictionary, 2nd ed. (1989), as reproduced in the online version dated December 2011, and accessed on 3 March 2012.  First published in A Supplement to the OED II, 1976.