Lectio Divina in Creation

Lectio Divina in Creation

St. Francis of Assisi, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and gives us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness.

One way to do this is through the ancient Christian practice of lectio divina, or slow, contemplative prayer of Scripture. In this traditional practice, one often first reads the text (lectio), meditates on a word or phrase (meditatio), and prays (oratio) with a question or idea that may arise. Finally, by God's grace, one might be led to the contemplation (contemplatio) of simply resting in God's presence.

For our purposes, our text will be the book of Creation. This can be done by going outside: either by walking or sitting outside one's house or if not possible by doing it inside, either by looking out the window or meditating with a plant. You can also pray with a place in nature using your imagination and a guided Christian meditation.

Lectio To use this process of lectio divina in creation, take time to "read" creation simply by walking or looking around, slowly absorbing with all your senses what is around you. Notice the different colors, shapes, smells, textures.

Meditatio Notice if something catches your attention and allows you to dwell on it. It may be a flower, a tree or cloud formations in the sky. Allow yourself to be present to what is there. Use your senses to admire the wonder of this creature or element of creation. Reflect on how you experience God's presence in or through this element of creation.

Oratio Enter into dialogue with God or this creature as a reflection of God's presence. You might ask a question such as "What God are you telling me through this tree? "Or you could simply give thanks to God for the beauty of this creation. Then allow yourself to listen. Allow yourself to be open to what God might be saying to you through creation. Don't worry if you can't hear anything. Just be open to what might be coming, without needing to force anything.

Contemplatio After a while, let go of any words or thoughts and simply allow yourself to rest in the presence of God here and now. You might close your eyes and simply relax.

When you are ready to close your time of prayer, find a way to give thanks: in silence, by offering a prayer to God, by making a gentle gesture of gratitude like a bow, or by wishing your friend in creation well and health. Then close by saying an Our Father or a Prayer for our Earth.

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