This from Guigo II, a Carthusian monk:
“Reading is the careful study of the Scriptures, concentrations of one’s powers on it. Meditation is the busy application of the mind to seek with the help of one’s own reason for knowledge of hidden truth. Prayer is the heart’s devoted turning to God to drive away evil and obtain what is good. Contemplation is when the mind is in some sort lifted to God and held above itself, so that it tastes the joys of everlasting sweetness.”
“Reading seeks for sweetness of a blessed life, meditation perceives it, prayer asks for it, contemplation tastes it. Reading, as it were, puts food whole into the mouth, meditation chews it and breaks it up, prayer extracts its flavour, contemplation is the sweetness itself which gladdens and refreshes.”
…and this from Bernard of Claivaux…
“In the ocean of this reading the lamb can paddle and the elephant swims.”
The Guigo quotes are from The Ladder of Monks, a medieval work on the contemplative, monastic life. I found all three quotes in James M. Houston, “Toward a Biblical Spirituality”, The Act of Bible Reading, ed. Elmer Dyck. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
I uploaded to the Spoken Word page a lectio exercise I led this morning at church on Acts 20.1-16. It is the same approach I used about a month ago. I’ll use it again next week, if the Lord wills, on 20.17-38.
Looks like I need to hit the Vandy Div. School library for a little more research on lectio in group settings. So far what I’ve found helpful (in addition to Earl’s Meditative Commentary on Acts…our text for the class) are Living God’s Love by Earl Lavender and Gary Holloway (Leafwood, 2004), Opening the Bible by Thomas Merton, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, by Helmut Thielicke and The Act of Bible Reading, edited Elmer Dyck (especially the article I mentioned above).
For this morning’s exercise I (spent too much time introducing lectio, but that’s another issue…) began with a song. We sang Break Thou the Bread of Life as a preface to silence. I like the aspect of including song(s), especially this particular one, since it is a rich blend of worship, prayer and study. I’m still trying to land on a song or two for next week (Acts 20.17-38).