17 April 2010

Inviting Our Lady to Lectio Divina

‘I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God Who is speaking, and in praying, responds to Him with trusting openness of heart. If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church -- I am convinced of it -- a new spiritual springtime’.

These words were spoken on 16 September 2005 from Castel Gandolfo by Pope Benedict XVI. Lectio divina is not just for monks and cloistered religious; it is for everyone. The Word of God is food.

Our Blessed Mother, like any loving mother takes great care in feeding her children. She leads us to her Eucharistic Son and she is the storehouse, so to speak, for Sacred Scripture. In fact, Scripture tells us that she keeps these things pondering them in her heart (cf. Saint Luke 2:19). The Heart of Our Lady is Immaculate and it is our spiritual pantry.

The word ‘pantry’, where food is stored, comes from the French word ‘paneterie’, meaning ‘bread room’. How appropriate is the word ‘bread’ when considering the Virgin Mother of God who delivered into the world the Bread of Life. Thinking of the Word of God or Sacred Scripture as food and Mary’s heart as a pantry becomes more intelligible when taking a glance at Guigo the Carthusian’s definition of ‘lectio divina’:

‘Reading, as it were, puts the food into the mouth. Meditation chews it and breaks it up. Prayer extracts its flavor. Contemplation is the sweetness itself which gladdens and refreshes’.

From the Heart of Our Lady comes the food and because of her maternal goodness, she puts it into the mouth. We chew on it and consider its vitalness. And can the flavor of the Word of God be any sweeter, any more savoury, knowing that Our Blessed Mother intercedes for us – she who is closer to the Heart of Jesus than anyone!