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Saints' Discussion Forums  |  Forums  |  Book Study  |  Topic: Lectio Divina by Fr Basil Pennington 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Lectio Divina by Fr Basil Pennington  (Read 698 times)
eschator83
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« on: May 16, 2021, 10:04:51 AM »

I've owned this book for many years and read it several times, but now I'm at camp and the book is at home, and I'm struggling to recall what's in my tired brain.  I think Fr Basil was a Benedictine monk in MA, and my first reaction to his book was a very favorable impression, but something happened (I can't recall) that caused me considerable concern.  I'm quite sure I have written several pages of comments, but I suppose I have to wait to find them. 
Thanks to Benedict for his great summary of the LD process in the thread about Fr Kersten.
I'm frustrated I can't remember:  when was the LD phrase originated?
What major authors have discussed?
Why did CCC tuck 1177 ref to LD in Liturgy of Hours?  CCC 2708 is somewhat more clear.
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Benedict
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2021, 03:28:14 AM »

Lectio Divina is the traditional method of living the Word of God preserved among the monastics and holy ascetics and patriarchs and is as a living characteristic of holy Christianity.
The Psalms are said to contain all of the emotions of a human and thus can be used to find which words fit the state of the soul.
Then the words that fit the state of the soul are then connected to the life of Christ, the Mysteries of the Church, the Doctrines of the Faith and the Final Judgement. By understanding the kernel of the Logos, that is the bear seed or the written word, the divine Logos can begin to produce fruit within your mind giving you insight into the usage of a piece of Scripture. For example, Psalm 1 can be related to the Final Judgment when it says
Quote
Psalm 1:4-6
Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth.
Therefore the wicked shall not rise again in judgment: nor sinners in the council of the just.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.
Now the connection to the Final Judgment would then lead to the holy fear of the Lord's Judgment, given that He is a just judge.
This is to promote purity of heart and discourage sin.
In the Rule of Saint Benedict the instruments of good works include
#44 To be in fear of the day of judgment
#45 To be in dread of hell
#46 To desire everlasting life with all spiritual longing
Reflecting upon the joy of salvation would be the ultimate goal which would cause faith, hope and love to flourish.
This fear of final judgment should then lead the heart to repentance and forgiveness.
Repentance and pardon deepen the hope and love a person feels.
Cultivating a practice of reflection upon the day of judgment one finds themselves ample materials within the Bible
Thus we can find in the first Psalm the Last Day, and also the Church and even Paradise
Psalm 1:3,2,1
And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off: and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
But his will is in the Word of the Lord, and on his Word he shall meditate day and night.
Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence:

Indeed blessed is Jesus Christ who has given counsel to the godly, stood in the way of righteousness, and now sits in the seat of mercy.

Gregory of Sinai lists the different forms of approved contemplation
1 Contemplation of the Trinity
2 Contemplation of the Celestial Hierarchy
3 Contemplation of the universe
4 Contemplation of the Incarnation
5 Contemplation of the Universal Resurrection
6 Contemplation of the Second Coming of Christ
7 Contemplation of age-long punishment in hell
8 Contemplation of the eternal kingdom of heaven

Quote
Gregory of Sinai On Commandments and Doctrine
130. The principal forms of contemplation are eight in number. The first is contemplation of the formless, unoriginate and uncreated God, source of all things - that is, contemplation of the one Triadic Deity that transcends all being. The second is contemplation of the hierarchy and order of the spiritual powers. The third is contemplation of the structure of created beings. The fourth is contemplation of God's descent through the incarnation of the Logos. The fifth is contemplation of the universal resurrection. The sixth is contemplation of the dread second coming of Christ. The seventh is contemplation of age-long punishment. The eighth is contemplation of the kingdom of heaven. The first four pertain to what has already been manifested and realized. The second four pertain to what is in store and has not yet been manifested; but they are clearly contemplated by and disclosed to those who through grace have attained great purity of intellect. Whoever without such grace attempts to descry them should realize that far from attaining spiritual vision he will merely become the prey of fantasies, deceived by and forming illusions in obedience to the spirit of delusion.

Having set this foundation: The process of Lectio Divina is four-fold in a wheel
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse.

Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.

During silent contemplation I believe that it is good to reflect over the All-Holy Undivided Trinity, the Hierarchy of the Heavenly Host, the wonders of Creation in the universe, the Redemption of Humanity in the Incarnation, the dreadful and glorious Final Day when Christ shall come again in glory He shall raise to life all flesh in the Universal Resurrection, the glory of Christ judging between the sheep and the goats, between wheat and chaff, between good and evil, bestowing rewards and punishments, the pain of hell and the evil of those who go there, the glory of heaven and the good of those who go there.
The goal is to provoke spontaneous acts of praise and worship to Almighty God, and to allow the Spirit of God to move you toward holiness and sanctification in body and mind and soul.
It is important to cultivate a continual reflection upon the great Mysteries of the Faith and the story of salvation.
Lectio Divina helps to accomplish living the faith, it is meant to deepen the connection between one's life and God's Word.
For the riddle was given that none could solve "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness."
Now the literal answer was that there was a bee hive in a dead lion thus the eater was the lion, something to eat was honey, the lion strong and the honey sweet.
Yet the Lion of Judah gives forth His flesh as sweet as honey, out of the Almighty comes the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, united in the sweetness of eternal bliss.
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eschator83
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2021, 10:25:25 AM »

Great post, I have much to think about, many thanks.  This seems a very nice explanation of the wheel you referred to in your earlier post in another thread.
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eschator83
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2021, 10:51:11 AM »

I know I've expressed in other threads my deep appreciation for the enormous wisdom expressed in these Forums, but I need to say it again here.  There is much patience, good will, and encouragement in virtually every page. 
Pennington doesn't specifically describe a history of the development of the Lectio concept, but his comments suggest a part of it.  He begins with "the young Alexandrine,
Anthony, who heard the words 'Go, sell what you have and follow me.'" Pennington continues "Thus we see that it was a word received in lectio that is credited with giving birth to a powerful spiritual movement."  It seems he is referring to St Athanasius' Life of Anthony.
Pennington says the desert Fathers and Mothers were often guided by rules of "saintly Pachomius."  A steady flow of pilgrims was attracted to the desert F&Ms and their writings were collected by St John Cassian and others.  St Bernard of Clairvaux is called the last of the Fathers, and Pennington says the Scholastic era, "perhaps drier than the deserts" left the desert wisdom (implied to be lectio) in "parenthesis."
The book History of the Monks of Egypt by Abba Paphnutius is also mentioned.
 

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eschator83
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2021, 10:43:53 AM »

Thanks to Benedict for suggesting an alternate translation/description of Lectio Divina.  My accounting background impels me to envision lists of activities in proper sequence and clearly described, which of course is seldom the case either in secular history or religious.  But Fr Pennington's comments related to the history of Lectio Divina puzzle me, and I am tempted to relate at least a few of them and ask for your comment, concurrence, or correction.
#1-"(Lectio) is a very ancient reality.  It is part of the rich heritage we received from our Jewish sisters and brothers.  The accounts of Jesus' life give clear evidence that (He) was formed by lectio..." (p.ix)
#2-"with the Last of the Fathers, Bernard of Clairvaux, the patristic age came to a close.  A scholastic age, perhaps drier than the deserts, began to hold sway." (p.48)



 
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Benedict
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2021, 01:24:23 PM »

Thanks to Benedict for suggesting an alternate translation/description of Lectio Divina.  My accounting background impels me to envision lists of activities in proper sequence and clearly described, which of course is seldom the case either in secular history or religious.  But Fr Pennington's comments related to the history of Lectio Divina puzzle me, and I am tempted to relate at least a few of them and ask for your comment, concurrence, or correction.
#1-"(Lectio) is a very ancient reality.  It is part of the rich heritage we received from our Jewish sisters and brothers.  The accounts of Jesus' life give clear evidence that (He) was formed by lectio..." (p.ix)
#2-"with the Last of the Fathers, Bernard of Clairvaux, the patristic age came to a close.  A scholastic age, perhaps drier than the deserts, began to hold sway." (p.48)
Lectio as in reading is indeed an ancient reality as the Jewish people reading was commanded of them by the Law which required each Jewish male to write a Torah Scroll. Thus literacy was part of the Jewish faith and the transmission of the meaning of the Torah and the Psalms and the Wisdom Books and the Prophets were either committed to writing or oral tradition.
Lectio Divina is a process that began in the Church as a special gift of the Holy Spirit, God revealed to countless religious the spiritual and moral meanings which had escaped Jewish understanding even to this day. For a veil covers their eyes so that they do not see the Truth whenever they read the Law or the Prophets or the Psalms unless they turn to Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:7-18
The Glory of the New Covenant
(Exodus 34:29-35)

7Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious; so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: 8How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory? 9For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory. 10For even that which was glorious in this part was not glorified, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is in glory.

12Having therefore such hope, we use much confidence: 13And not as Moses put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel might not steadfastly look on the face of that which is made void. 14But their senses were made dull. For, until this present day, the selfsame veil, in the reading of the old testament, remaineth not taken away (because in Christ it is made void). 15But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. 16But when they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. 17Now the Lord is a Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Jesus was hypostatically united to the Word of God and was instructed in a ineffable manner by Wisdom itself and taught the elders, lawyers and doctors in the temple concerning the New Law hidden within the Old, even love, mercy and grace.
Now there is tradition that says that Holy Mary was reading Isaiah and that she had prayed to be the Virgin of the Lord who would conceive the Savior and God heard her prayer and sent Saint Gabriel the Archangel.
Latins say that the patristic age ended around the time of Saint Bernard. I think that this is because soon after the Great Schism would lead to the end of the Patristic age.
Saint Anselm, Doctor of the Church, would go on to prove God's existence through logic and reasoning via the path of God being the thing which is truly greater than all conception.
The First Vatican Council affirmed that the One True God's existence can be proved by reason.
This is because the Wisdom of Solomon and Saint Paul both affirm that all are without excuse who deny God's existence.
Wisdom 13:1-9
But all men are vain, in whom there is not the knowledge of God: and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman:
But have imagined either the fire, or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great water, or the sun and moon, to be the gods that rule the world.
With whose beauty, if they, being delighted, took them to be gods: let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they: for the first author of beauty made all those things.
Or if they admired their power, and their effects, let them understand by them, that he that made them, is mightier than they:
For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby.
But yet as to these they are less to be blamed. For they perhaps err, seeking God, and desirous to find him.
For being conversant among his works, they search: and they are persuaded that the things are good which are seen.
But then again they are not to be pardoned.
For if they were able to know so much as to make a judgment of the world: how did they not more easily find out the Lord thereof?

Romans 1:18-25
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice:
Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.
Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks: but became vain in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened.
For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts and of creeping things.
Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves.
Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 02:49:18 PM by Benedict » Logged

PAX
CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
VADE RETRO SATANA!
NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
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For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Benedict
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2021, 12:51:42 AM »

Furthermore I would like to say the scholastic age had many great Doctors like Bonaventure and Albert the Great so perhaps our Father Basil Pennington simply overlooked these giants of scholastic age.
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PAX
CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI
CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX!
NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX!
VADE RETRO SATANA!
NUMQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA!
SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
IPSE VENENA BIBAS!
All Glory Be To God!
All Praise Be To God!
For God Is Greater Than All Things!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
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