In his May 2007 edition of Think On These ThingsMystical Youth Ministry” Dr. Gary Gilley gives us a run down of the so-called “spiritual discipline” of Lectio Divina.

In doing so Gilley turns to Dr. Kenneth Boa, President of Reflections Ministries and teacher of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) who personally recommends and teaches:

The ancient art of sacred reading (lectio divina) [which] was introduced to the West by the Eastern desert father John Cassian early in the fifth century. The sixth-century Rule of St. Benedict that guided Benedictine and Cistercian monastic practice ever since, prescribed daily periods for sacred reading. In spite of the simplicity and power of this method of praying through sacred Scripture, it gradually fell into disuse and obscurity.

Unfortunately, by the end of the Middle Ages it came to be seen as a method that should be restricted to the spiritually elite. As time passed, even monastics lost the simplicity of sacred reading as it was replaced by more complicated systems and forms of “mental prayer.”

In re-cent decades, however, this ancient practice has been revitalized, especially by those in the Cistercian tradition. Writers like Thomas Merton (Contemplative Prayer, New Seeds of Contemplation, Spiritual Direction & Meditation), Thomas Keating (Intimacy with God, Open Mind, Open Heart), Michael Casey (Sacred Read-ing, Toward God, The Undivided Heart), and Thelma Hall (Too Deep for Words) have been promoting sacred reading in Catholic circles, and Protestants are now being exposed to this approach as well. Lectio divina involves a progression through the four movements of reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. (Online source)

Please know that the quotes that Gilley uses below in his article come from Boa’s book The Trinity, a Journal:

Lectio Divina

This is Latin for “holy reading,” and is increasingly becoming a popular method of contemplative “Bible reading” in mystical and emergent circles… Ken Boa, another promoter of mystical Christianity, explains that lectio divina involves four movements:

Reading (Lectio)

“Since lectio divina engages the whole person, your bodily posture is important. A seated position that is erect but not tense or slouched is best…. Remember that unlike ordinary reading, in lectio you are seeking to be shaped by the Word more than informed by the Word”

Meditation (Meditatio)

“Meditation is a spiritual work of holy desire and an interior invitation for the Spirit to pray and speak within us (Romans 8:26-27)…Meditation will do you little good if you try to control the outcome.” Incorporating the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola is recommended for meditation.

Prayer (Oratio)

Boa informs us that “Oratio [Prayer] is a time for participation in the interpenetrating subjectivity of the Trinity through prolonged mutual presence and growing identification with the life of Christ.”

Contemplation (Contemplatio)

To the uninitiated, contemplation often is confused with meditation but they are not the same. In ordinary circles meditation describes deep thinking and analyzing with a rational mind and some may use contemplation as a synonym for this activity. But contemplation in mystical circles “is a theological grace that cannot be reduced to logical, psychological, or aesthetic categories…It is best for us to stop talking and ‘listen to Him’ in simple and loving attentiveness. In this strange and holy land we must remove the sandals of our ideas, constructs and inclinations, and quietly listen for the voice of God.”

So as we can see from Dr. Ken Boa, himself a teacher and pratitioner of this spurious spiritual discipline, Lectio Divina was developed as a “monastic practice” of apostate Roman Catholicism and as Gilley points out it also involves the so-called “Christian” meditation of Contemplative/Centering Prayer.

And this is confirmed by no less an authority than the late Roman Catholic monk and “Spiritual Master” Basil Pennington who explains in his book Lectio Divina:

For the past twenty-five years we have been sharing Centering Prayer in all parts of the world. In all our prayer workshops we have always included lectio. For the monk and nun, lectio and contemplation, Centering Prayer, are all part of one reality. (ix)

Men and women, the fact is Lectio Divina was not taught or practiced by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, it was rightly rejected as not in line with Biblical Christianity by the Lord’s Reformers, and therefore because this neo-pagan practice is counter to Sola Scriptura it has no place in the life of the Christian.

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