Some background Points
What we mean by Meditation in Lectio is different from what is currently meant by Meditation in popular usage. In popular understanding today Meditation describes a practice of quietening body, mind and heart and coming to a place of inner silence, stillness and centredness. There are various techniques employed to bring one to this point. Meaning of Meditation in Lectio is something quite different; mind is active – particularly the imagination through making connection with memories – but also feeling, emotions and intuitions.
The meditation stage is founded on faith conviction that the “work of God” or “activity of God” or “movement of grace” contained in the passage is not merely a “work” done in the past, but is a “work” that God continues to do today in our lives and in our world. This conviction is crucial: What God did in the past, he continues to do today. He is always doing! So that the passage acts as a “pattern”, or “model” or “symbol” or “type” of what God is doing today. Every passage, therefore, invites us to discover where and how God is doing the same thing today. At the same time, and in the same way, we are invited to discover that the story of “sin” in the passage is as real today as it was back then.
In the Meditation Stage we experience the text as a king of “magnet” which has the power to draw to itself similar events, happening, and encounters from our own life experience. So the surfacing of memories is not so much an experience of “digging and searching” on our part, but more of a “waiting” on the Holy Spirit, at work in the passage and in us, to stir up and attract memories which are partial or full manifestations of the same “work of God” going on today.
This process of Meditation is not tied to any particular time, place or circumstance. It can be going on as we engage in many of our daily activities, and in this way encourage a greater integration of “spiritual life” and “ordinary life .
In the Meditation stage the Reader
Has now become a participant, “entering” into the passage, or better still, allowing the passage to “enter” us.
No one can decide for us where we are going to enter the passage.
The passage always respects us. The following “triggers” might be helpful in the stirring up of memories.
- What does the passage, or any part of it, remind us of?
- What touches us or moves us in the passage?
- Who do we find ourselves feeling with or for in the passage?
- When and how have we been or seen Jesus (or any other character) in this passage?
- Listen to whatever life experience surfaces in us. Respect it. Stay with it. Let the memories surface in all their historical reality – where? When? Who? What happened?
As we do so we are invited to relive the memory with the help of the passage (details from the passage opening up and illuminating aspects of our life experience). At the same time we relive the passage with the help of the memory (aspects of our life-experience throwing light on the passage). It is a process in which the passage and the life experience get to know each other, converse with each other, discover each other – both what they have in common and their differences. The Meditation Stage is characterised by a coming together or growing oneness or “communion” between the passage and life experience.Continue with this process until we can spontaneously exclaim:
“I now recognise that passage”. The same movement of grace (activity of God’s love, work of God), or of sin (obstacles to that grace) that I have read about in the passage – I have seen today! I can now appreciate a new sacred depth and meaning in the historical events, happening, encounters in my own life and in what I see going on around me in the world today. This is good news. God/Jesus with us. God alive and at work in the world today.
Normally we will find a number of memories surfacing:
The important thing is to go deeply into two or three rather than superficially into many. These memories will come from the area of one-to-one relationship (involving oneself or someone close to us); or from the area of relationships between one community and another, or in the workplace, church, society or country (of which we are a part, or indeed, between one country and another, one religion and another; or something we have seen with the world of nature; or within oneself alone. Ideally we will experience the passage fulfilled at least at two of these levels. The important thing is that each passage invites us to look deeply into our own personal journey, and at the same time to look deeply into the lives of those around us locally and globally so that we are in touch not only with the truth of ourselves but in solidarity with the truth of other and humanity itself throughout the world.
In the context of a Lectio Divina community:
The giving and receiving of these meditations is central to the gathering. Ideally, we will come to Lectio community having already meditated on the passage and ready to offer something that we are comfortable with – a down-to-earth, concrete instance of the passage or any part of it, fulfilled today. In making “the offering” we should try to make as much reference to the passage – words, images, metaphors, movement etc. as we can.
We offer it humbly as an experience of “good news”:
For ourselves, and confident that it will be “good news” for others. At the same time, we listen to other offer their experience of the passage, and their offerings will most likely awaken new memories in us as well. Together we will come to a fuller and deeper appreciation of the work of God going on today. This represents the ideal of a Christian community: followers of Jesus coming together to nourish and support each other with “good news” affirming and confirming for each other the truth that Jesus is truly risen, and alive and at work in our lives and in our world today.
In order to allow time for everyone who wishes to make their offering:
We should also try to keep our offering as short as succinct / concise as we can.