I am currently working on a database of links of the articles directly dealing with the Scriptures and lectio divina found at Otium Sanctum. The database items number to more than two hundred article links, a collection dating back to 2005 (although some of the articles were written in 2000). I will be publishing the links in two formats: in CDB format (for C-Organizer Pro users) and in TPD (TreePad format) for the general user (the TreePad viewer is free and I will be including it in the download of the database).
I have almost finished the CDB version of the database. In the meantime, I am releasing a copy of the links to the articles pertaining to the lectio. The full articles are already contained in the eBook “Guide to the Lectio” which is still downloadable from here. This copy, as well as the whole database are for those who prefer to read the articles from Otium Sanctum itself.
Below are the links to articles on the Lectio. Most of these have become the bases for the BEC Leaders’ Training Module that I am using at the parish. The articles on the Word of God has helped some people to understand that Christianity cannot be based on “sola Scriptura”. The articles on integrating one’s reading of the Scriptures with the liturgy while not original has helped people understand that the Lectio is meant to be an extension of and a preparation for the Liturgy of the Word. Finally, the series on “Intelligent Reading of the Scriptures” has helped people see that a “fundamentalist” reading of the Scriptures does no honor to the Word of God Incarnate.
Why We Read Scriptures
Why do we read the Scriptures? In this article, which was originally published at Suite101.Com. The author discusses three reasons why the reading of Scriptures is necessary: (a) because it is nourishment for the faith; (b) because it allows us to read the meaning of our daily lives, and (c) because it allows us to have fellowship with one another, anchored on the One Christ proclaimed by the apostles.
The importance of Holy Scriptures in the life of a Christian is undeniable. The Scriptures themselves bear testimony to this importance. I will give just three examples here with some commentary…
The Word of God and Scriptures
During one Theology class with our college freshmen, I asked one student what the Bible is. Without hesitating, he answered: “The Word of God.” Turning to another, I asked: “But what is the Word of God?” This one looked at me and said: “The Bible.”
St. Augustine on the Reading of Scriptures
Fr. Agostino Trape, OSA describes the way Augustine reads Scriptures in these words:
(I)t is not only reading which could be called a superficial activity, it is not only that study which is only an intellectual activity, not only that meditation which can be reduced to simple internal introspection…but also and above all, it is a combination of listening and dialogue. It involves listening in faith and docile obedience to Him who is present in man and speaks to him, and reveals his love to him and invites him to respond in love…In this listening-dialogue, which is the most beautiful and fruitful form of meditation, prayer takes on, equally spontaneously, the highest forms of contemplation which are, … wonder, admiration, gratitude, adoration, praise, expectation that faith will be replaced by vision and that the divine word of the Scripture, which sounds in time, will give way to the Word which sounds in eternity; which sounds, not through the mediation of signs and creatures, but by itself, immediately. (1)
Scriptures as Word of God: Christ, Tradition and Church
In a previous article, we have shown the difficulty of identifying Word of God and Scriptures/Bible for that would mean reducing the former to just one of its meanings. In fact, Word of God means first of all the person of Jesus Christ. He is the definitive Word uttered by God, the Logos that took on flesh and whose glory as Son was seen by the apostles. In the second place, Word of God is also the content of the preaching of the apostles, proclaimed, handed down from generation to generation, and recalled in the life of the community of faith — in prayer, catechetics and worship. In the third place, Word of God is the memory that the apostles had of Christ in written form: the Scriptures. From this understanding of the “Word of God” one can draw three important ideas regarding the reading of Scriptures…
Lectio Divina: Practical Hints
“The lectio divina arose as a form of personal prayer in that solitude which, having all the characteristics of that prayer “in secret” (Mt. 6:6), allows one to have a transforming experience with the Lord, …” Luciano Pachomio, Lectio Divina, p. 50
The previous articles have described in a general way the theory behind “lectio divina”. In this and in the following articles, I wish to discuss “how” it is done. This being the first article on the practical aspects of the lectio divina, I will share with you some guidelines drawn from the practise of the monks and the Fathers of the Church relevant to the practice of the lectio.
Practical Hints 2: Reading the Bible Intelligently
There are three ideas behind the title “Reading Scriptures Intelligently” that I wish to explain lest I be misunderstood. The first is that any passage of Scriptures must be read and understood as one would read any other piece of human literature, i.e., with the full use of one’s God given intelligence. Reading with intelligence, in this first sense would be to read a piece of writing respecting (a) its language, grammar and syntax, and context; (b) the particular way in which it is written (i.e., whether it is written as poetry, or as chronicle, or as a story with a moral lesson, etc.); (c) the intent of the author (in the case of the Scriptures, it is always to proclaim the mighty deeds of God in the history of His people.) In this three-fold way of “respecting” the written Word of Scriptures, we are actually doing homage to the Humanity of the Word of God who — in the language of St. Augustine — is echoed forth in the many human voices of the books of the Bible.
Practical Hints 3: Using Modern Translations of the Bible
The present article submitted to Suite101 in the year 2000, has two parts. The first part deals with the benefits that our generation derives from the work of scholars in producing modern translations of the Bible. The second part, deals with the way these modern translations should be used, lest they become a hindrance to the reader’s intended encounter with the Word of God.
Sampling a Gospel Story
The present article seeks to illustrate the four rules outlined previously by a reading of a story from Mark’s Gospel.
Before proceeding with this article, I would ask the guest to first, download the New American Bible text of Mark 9:14-29 and then, read it intelligently by paying attention to
- the setting (with special attention to transitions)
- the principal actors
- the action performed and by whom
Memory, Parallel Texts, Augustine and Guy the Carthusian
The present article and the one that will follow it is intended to explain how the parallel texts supplied in our modern translations of the Bible can be used to aid in understanding a passage one is reading. For our purpose, I understand “parallel text” to be “a scriptural passage similar in words or in theme to the bible passage being read.” The parallel texts supplied in our modern translations should be understood as minimal helps in the understanding of a given passage. These can still be enriched by the reader’s own contact with the sacred page : attentively reading, assiduously remembering the lesson learned, and constantly reflecting on its meaning for his/her life. Following is a discussion of how parallel texts were used by men in the past whose experiences with the Scriptures form the bedrock of the tradition of the lectio divina.
Using Your Bible’s Parallel Text Annotations: A Reminder
In the previous article we showed how the ancients understood a biblical passage using as their aid texts that were similar to the passage being considered. For Augustine, it was a rule that he recommended especially in cases where a passage is difficult to understand. Guy the Carthusian explains that a particular text resonates through the whole of Scriptures and that it is the task of meditation to capture those resonances. In practice this would mean a mental search for passages that clarify a passage being read.
Parallel Texts, Textual Resonances and Liturgy
The recourse to parallel texts that can shed light on the meaning of a particular passage is one of the ways by which certain biblical difficulties have been resolved (Augustine). At the same time, parallel texts, understood as resonances of a given text have been regarded as by products of a fruitful dialogue between the “ruminant” soul and the Word of God in Scriptures (Guy the Carthusian). The first approach sounds scholarly and more akin to what serious students do now when they use Bible Concordances, or Dictionaries and Encyclopedias of the Bible. And it is in a way “scholarly”; the passage from Augustine that we used to exemplify such an approach comes after all from the De doctrina christiana, the saint’s manual on the proper explanation of the Scriptures.
The Word of God: Prose and Poetry
This article begins a new series on the topic of “The Bible As Literature.” To introduce the topic, a short commentary on Dei Verbum 12 will be made. This will be followed by an explanation of the characteristics of biblical prose and poetry and finally, examples of each as found in the books of the scriptures will be treated.
Biblical Poetry: Parallelism and Balance
“Parallelism and balance are two distinctive features of biblical poetry, “ writes Laverdierre. These will be the topic of the present article. By using examples from the poetic sections of the Bible — specifically, Psalms 1 and 8 — I will illustrate what parallelism is and how it contributes to poetic balance. This article is archived at Suite101 under the Catholic Scriptures Study section.
Reading a Psalm in Six Steps
In this article, I propose a six-step programme for the reading of a psalm. I remind the reader that the kind of reading proposed here is intelligent and done in the spirit of the lectio divina Thus the six steps that I am here proposing is meant for prayer. I am assuming that the reader wants to begin reading the psalms but does not have the time nor the facilities to consult biblical encyclopedias and dictionaries. As has been explained in a previous article, the minimum requirements for the lectio divina are: a good modern translation of Scriptures (with explanatory notes), the desire to read with intelligence, and a faith that seeks dialogue with “the Father who wishes to reveal himself to his children.” Biblical encyclopedias and dictionaries may be consulted later for a more rounded Biblical culture
Sampling Biblical Prose: the Story of Ruth
The Story of Ruth is one of the more fascinating narratives in the Old Testament. We will be sampling it as we try biblical prose. This is more like a reading exercise, but I do try to explain some of the more difficult concepts behind the story, e.g. the idea of womanhood in ancient Israel, the idea of “Redeemer” and finally, the Levirate Law.
Sampling Paul’s Letter to Philemon
We offer this short article as a reading exercise on a New Testament document that though short is not insignificant. For although one does not find here the doctrinal characteristics other Pauline letters have, one does see here some principles already explained by Paul as applied in a particular situation that calls for forgiveness, respect for a fellow Christian, regard for one’s father in the faith, and being under the grace of God.
Sampling Paul’s Letter to the Galatians
This is the last article I wrote for Suite101. The article is the first part of an essay on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and covers General observations regarding the letters of Paul followed by a general observation on the Letter to the Galatians.
Studying The Bible With The CCC’s Biblical Index
The biblical index of the Catechism of the Church helps the student of the bible in showing how particular passages are understood within the light of the Church’s tradition as it is linked to one or the other element of the faith. The index, in fact, contains references to the Bible arranged according to book, chapter and verse. Alongside each of these biblical references, one finds the places in the Catechism where the passage is used.
The above list can be downloaded in PDF format at AngFrayle
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