In silent open-ness to God, we set aside our own agendas and open ourselves to God’s agenda, which is always love, love, and more love. What could be better than that?
Lectio Divina (Holy Reading) is an ancient Christian way to pray the Scriptures. It involves reading a passage of the Bible, listening to God in silence, responding back to God in prayer, and then resting in silent prayer for a time.
To pray this couple’s method of Lectio Divina, you will need:
- Some quiet, private time.
- A comfortable place to sit.
- A Bible
- A note book and something to write with
- A quiet timer
- Your romantic partner
- An open, receptive heart
Make yourselves comfortable in whatever way you can best
be near one another.
You might begin, after the sign of the cross, with a vocal prayer to the Holy Spirit. I like this one:
Come, Holy Spirit,
come by means
of the powerful intercession
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Thy well beloved spouse.”
Step 1: Lectio
Have a passage chosen ahead of time that you both agree on. We usually choose something from the mass readings of the day.
Passing the Bible back and forth to take turns reading, read the passage aloud, slowly and reflectively.
Of course you could each have your own Bible. But I like the reciprocation in the giving of the Bible to one another, and in taking turns; one listening, one reading.
As you hear the Scripture passage, listen for a word, phrase or sentence that stands out to you. (Don’t worry, one will.)
After the third time reading the passage through, write your word (s) into the note book you have between you.
The Benedictine monks, who most developed this prayer form, called this note book a “florilegium,” meaning, “book of flowers.” Writing your verse or phrase down will help you focus as you pray, and be fruitful for later perusal, discussion, or future prayer.
This word or passage that stands out as you hear the Word of God, is considered to be the Holy Spirit speaking to you.
“It’s just that each of these verses fit each of us so well.”
She laughs, too.
“Yeah, God thinks he’s pretty clever.”
Step 2: Meditatio
You may want to set a timer for this section of the prayer. Try to make it a light, non- jarring sound. I have an app on my kindle with a nice Tibetan bell sound for this purpose.
As to the time duration, agree on it beforehand. Ten to twenty minutes should do it. But even five is OK if that is all the time you have.
This time will be silent. You may want to hold hands, or put your feet together, and close your eyes.
• Inwardly repeat your word or phrase with expectation. As you ponder it, apply it to your life and relationship with God. Let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to make clear His message to you.
When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your word or phrase, placing yourself once more in God’s presence.
• Ask the Lord, “What are you saying to me in this word or phrase?”
Sometimes you will want to stop here and discuss, briefly, the fruit of your meditatio together.
Step 3 Oratio
After the timer goes off, take a moment or maybe a few moments to respond with a prayer back to God about what He has lead you to understand or given to you during meditatio.
You might wish to write your prayer response into the notebook and to pray it aloud with your partner.
Step 4 Contemplatio
This usually means to rest in God’s Heart in silence. I think when praying as a couple, it is good to rest also in one another’s hearts at the same time.
God is love,
and whoever lives in love,
lives in God,
and God in him.
- Again, set the timer, perhaps for 10-20 minutes as during the meditatio, and maybe hold hands, close your eyes, place yourselves in the presence of God, and rest lovingly there together.
If it is hard for you to do this, you might choose a prayer word like the Name of Jesus, Mary, or the word, “God,” “love” or “peace,” for your mind to hold onto like a walking stick as it travels in quiet over the next few minutes.
- When the time is up, you may wish to pray aloud together the Our Father.
- End with the sign of the cross and the kiss of peace.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
– and cherish it in their hearts
(a responsory from the Liturgy of the Hours)
*We have found that sometimes adjustments to this method must be made because of time, distance, kids, etc. It can be spread out over days, or sometimes reflections can be e-mailed or discussed in the car. Remember that God cannot be limited by the things we are limited by. He only wants us to be willing, and to try, and He will respond by working His wonders in us. However, I hope you can try praying in the above way sometimes. It is very rewarding and intimate; not to be missed.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… (Colossians 3:16a)