Spiritual writers these days love to talk about encountering God through chance encounters and in unexpected places, and I say hooray for spiritual surprises. But for those of us who live seemingly ordinary lives, the divine is also waiting in the everyday. We need to tell unspectacular God-stories as well.
I discovered one of these stories a few years ago when I took a spiritual retreat at a small monastery near where I live. Accompanied by friends from my church, my time there included some contemplative practices, such as silence and solitude.
The second day of the retreat, we gathered in a musty room on the second floor of the creaky monastery explored a different way of praying that I had not previously encountered. It didn’t require holding a downward dog pose or thinking about fancy theological words with the power to make listeners cry. The prayer practice was, well, ordinary.
Lectio divina is a Latin word that means “divine reading.”
To engage it, a scripture is read in repetition while those meditating let the words wash over them.
Each time the passage moves from breath to air, listeners focus on the syllables, and attempt to select a single sacred word that appears to stick in their minds. This word becomes a point of focus, quieting the inner noise and attuning us to divine presence. . . .