Beginning Lectio Divina
A Hebrew Catholic Perspective
Christian prayer is the prayer of Christ the Annointed One — the Messiah ….. It sounds rather obvious, doesn’t it? But it is such an important understanding. For us, as Christians, together with Saint Paul, there is only one prayer: the unceasing prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ to his Father made present in us by the Holy Spirit. It is the prayer of Jesus Messiah, who came to fulfil all the Father commanded — everything prophesied about Him in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is the prayer of the Messiah Son of God who will return at the end of time to bring His Kingdom to perfection. It is the prayer which the Saviour offers to God the Father on our behalf and which draws us into the loving company of the Blessed Trinity (John 17).
When we talk of the “unceasing prayer” of Christ we mean His eternal beholding of The Father, His unbroken attention to the Father’s Holy Will, His constant intercession on behalf of His disciples down through the ages. We are members of His Body, the Church — of which He is the Head, and for whom He constantly prays.
As such, we are united in a way which enables our prayer to be one with the “unceasing prayer” of Jesus Christ. This is our starting point: learning to be part of this unceasing prayer. Scripture Meditation is the way provided by God for His people from early Biblical times.
A 4000 Year Old Tradition
Scripture Meditation is for everyone who wishes to participate! When we use the word “Meditation”, it automatically refers to reflection on the Word of God (spoken or written) and responding accordingly.
Very likely you will come across the word used by other religions. They mean something similar but obviously not Christian. Our participation in this form of prayer arises from, and is an organic development out of our Jewish roots and therefore has a 4000 year history!
Our earliest Christians meditated on the teaching of Jesus Christ and have been writing about their experience ever since. They were well trained in the knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, and their skills and disciplines were a significant factor in maintaining the regular meditation on our Lord’s teaching. He was seen from the beginning as the Torah — God’s Teaching — made flesh: Christ the Word.
Secular Use of Meditation
Modern secular writers use the term frequently for a method of reducing stress, relaxing, or just simply “finding yourself”. This is in fact one of the many examples of non-Christians taking religious ideas and language, removing the spiritual content, and then using the terms for their own purposes.
The Christian Tradition
• Scripture Meditation is prayer. It is for all Christians, or anyone who wishes to try it, even if they do not see themselves as particularly faithful Christians but choose to somehow be associated with the process.
• It is not for a spiritual elite.
• All can!
• There are no special techniques or methods other than those you find helpful.
• Yes, there is a discipline, but our Lord Jesus Christ avoided teaching any “technique”!
• In our Hebrew Catholic meditation, the emphasis is not on reciting “mantras” or trying to and find the “centre of our being”. We do not recite anything continuously; instead we remember and listen. We are less concerned with trying to locate the centre of our being; than being embraced within the loving presence of the Holy Trinity; God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is the privilege of every Christian.
A Hebrew Catholic Perspective
Throughout all the articles we present here, related to Scripture reflection and meditation, we make frequent reference to the Jewish roots of Christian culture. As most of our readers are not especially familiar with this situation, we introduce it without lots of Hebrew language and concepts. Nevertheless the links are important and we draw attention to them to help our readers expand their awareness. The blending of these two cultures in our Hebrew Catholic apostolate will, we are certain, be interesting and help in your spiritual life.
Don’t Be In A Hurry
Many people look these days for a “quick-fix” when it comes to meditation. Meditation for Christians is about a loving relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ. It must take time to grow and develop. It cannot be “force-fed” or “fast-tracked”. Forget all about what you think you must achieve in meditation, and let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit into the fullness of life, which is waiting for you.
To Get Going
You are welcome to read as many of the sets of introductory articles as you want. When you feel ready, take a look at our paper: “The Seven “R’s” of Lectio Divina”. As an example of one way of reflecting on a Scripture passage, you could print the paper referred to at the bottom of our opening page where it says,”Listen To Him“. These two papers will help you “get into it”. Many people find they go better by doing it with another person, or small group. Don’t be afraid to make a start and try things. Our weekly Reflections under “Scriptures For Reflection” have been prepared specifically to help you proceed. May you be richly blessed.
A Final Prayer
“Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in your sight
O Lord, my Strength
And my Redeemer.”
(Psalm 19: 14 Prayer of King David)