Lectio Divina for Advent

by Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde, Visitation Companion

This Saturday, December 2, 2011 at the Monastery, the Visitation Companions will gather with the Sisters for our annual Advent Retreat. This year Sr. Suzanne Homeyer is leading us in a Lectio Divina experience –

LECTIO DIVINA is “a traditional Catholic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word.  It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word.[1]

In Sisters’ explanation of this prayer process, dating back to St. Benedict, she outlined the following two ways into the scripture:

  1. Read the text. Ask yourself: What images stand out to you? What message exists for you in this imagery? What action does the text inspire in you?
  2. Become a character in the text. Take on the perspective of the person or thing in the text. What ideas or questions or feelings come to mind?

The following is my attempt, then, at Lectio Divina for this Sunday’s first reading. I hope it inspires you as you enter more deeply into the season. I welcome any and all responses of lectio divina that you have!

Dec. 4, 2011 — SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
1st READING:  ISAIAH 40: 1-5, 9-11
2nd READING:  II  PETER 3: 8-14
GOSPEL:  MARK 1: 1-8

REFLECTION:

Prepare the way of the Lord! … Every valley shall be filled in, ever hill be made low; …in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom.”

  • When I read this first reading from the prophet Isaiah, the above lines and images stand out to me. I hear this booming voice, singing “Pre-e-pare Ye, the way of the Lord.” And I’m back at Norfolk Catholic High School, in a darkened gymnasium; Shane Hughes is walking in without any spot light; I can just hear his voice singing. He is playing the role of John the Baptist in Godspel at our Nebraska alma mater.
  • The next image that stands out to me is this leveling of the earth. I see plate tectonics at work, a shifting in the earth’s layers, and imagine God easing the path for people in their journey. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions of a sort. Uphill battles are lessened, and steep descents rise so that those with ouchy knees find it easier to move forward. Flashes of Occupy Wall Street protestors come into my mind, as they inhabit the lowly spaces around tall towers in Lower Manhattan, reminding us of their message of economic justice…..
  • Finally, this image of a shepherd holding his lamb, holding me, inspires my reading. I feel taken care of, watched over, protected and nurtured in my small stature. I think of a blog I posted recently on this very idea.  I think of the Christ child entering our midst, preparing a space for this babe to enter, and be realized again in my own body, in this midst. I want to sing.

PRAYER: Loving God, please make a level, open path into my heart this Advent season. Help me realize the way my own being carries the light and love of Christ; help me forge a path for other friends, family members to tune into their own beauty, the Divine Indwelling. Make my Advent journey a continuous song of your praise.

POSSIBLE ACTION/NEXT STEP: I will write an original simple song to sing as a prayer as I make way for Christ’s birth.

Footnote:

1. Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer by David G. Benner 2010 ISBN 0830835423 pages 47-53

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