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I am excited to share my review of Meeting God In Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina by Jan Johnson. Jan is an author, speaker and spiritual director. You can learn more about Jan at JanJohnson.org.
Jan Johnson’s, Meeting God in Scripture is a book that I will leave on my bedside table. Each time I pick it up, I find myself coming back to the same passages until the passages are done speaking to me. Only then do I know it is time to move on.
“One colleague urged me to write this book to provide “training wheels” to help people move into Scripture meditation.” In Meeting God in Scripture Jan shares how to practice Lectio Divina. “There are four traditional steps in lectio divina—Read (lectio), Reflect (meditatio), Respond (oratio) and Rest (contemplatio).”
Relax and Refocus
Jan has added two additional steps that I found particularly helpful. I think you will feel that way too! At the beginning of each session she makes suggestions for what she refers to as “Relax and Refocus” (silencio). It is vital that we learn how to slow down and prepare to receive God’s Word.
Trying It On
Jan also expresses that we need to incarnate God’s Word. She describes this as, “Trying It On “(incarnatio)”. Here she offers key questions that nudge us to take some action that embodies a truth found in the passage.
Meeting God in Scripture contains forty meditation exercises that are organized by topic. We are to feel free to choose the topic that the Spirit moves us to select before we begin our session. Each meditation exercise is filled with questions and commentary that will help you move through the four steps of lectio.
Relish this Time
We are reminded that we must never become discouraged. We are to relish our time spent with God. “So if nothing comes to you, simply cherish the time of Scripture meditation as time spent with God.”
I practice centering prayer on a daily basis. Centering prayer opens me to the presence and action of God within: Rest (contemplatio). Lectio has become an important and wonderful complement to my centering prayer practice.
Jan’s book has helped me deepen my relationship with God. Jan’s book has helped me become more open to what the Spirit wants to share with me as I read Scripture. I am grateful that God shared Jan’s book with me!
If you want to learn more about lectio divina or go deeper in your existing practice I encourage you to check out this book. I do not think you will be disappointed.
As Jan mentions, let the Spirit remake you! “Scripture meditation goes much deeper than simple application. It opens us up to being completely undone by the Spirit and remade in the presence of the Word of God.”
Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina by Jan Johnson
Invitation to the Jesus Life: Experiments in Christlikeness by Jan Johnson
Lectio Divina—The Sacred Art: Transforming Words & Images into Heart-Centered Prayer (The Art of Spiritual Living) by Christine Valters Paintner
Lectio Divina Heart to Heart – Listening and Living with God by Contemplative Outreach: The ancient practice of praying the Scriptures is being rediscovered and renewed in our time. Known as Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), it is one of the great treasures of the Christian tradition of prayer.
Transforming the World through Contemplative Prayer: Richard Rohr, OFM, and Laurence Freeman, OSB—two long-time spiritual friends—offer practical guidance for the challenges of this time in Earth’s history. They teach us how we can put our deepest aspirations for personal realization and social transformation into practice. Their combined focus on contemplation, action, and a shared passion for truth illuminates the origins of our crisis and shows us the path toward lasting change and a more just and loving humanity. Discover the power of contemplative prayer to change the world.
Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate – Three leading voices in the contemplative Christian tradition explore the mystic’s path: Richard Rohr, James Finley and Cynthia Bourgeault. Experience a very special weekend conference with teachings that guide us through the long mystical tradition from early Christianity to our own time. This view into our mystical heritage opens our hearts to the Divine Mystery in which we live and are surrounded. The mystical union to which we are all invited strengthens us to live our lives with compassion and gratitude.
On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today?
Centering Prayer Course: A Training Course for Opening to the Presence of God – Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Thomas Merton’s Path to the Palace of Nowhere: The Essential Guide to the Contemplative Teachings of Thomas Merton – Now James Finley, who for six years lived, prayed, and studied with Brother Louis, as Merton was known at the Abbey of Gethsemani, shares with us the gifts passed on to him by this towering figure.
The Teachings of Meister Eckhart: An Invitation to Experience God in Every Moment: The 13th-century mystic Meister Eckhart was the most brilliant Christian scholar of his day, but he was also legendary for the way that he opened listeners to the direct experience of God during his public talks. Today, his written wisdom remains alive as ever, ready to illuminate us. James Finley, one of today’s best-known teachers of the Christian contemplative tradition, invites us into Eckhart’s insights in the same way that this luminary teacher delighted in sharing them—through the spoken word.
“My experience—from the depths of depression to the heights of joy—has taught me that the path toward wholeness takes patience and passion,” teaches Parker Palmer. With An Undivided Life, you will receive his timeless wisdom and guidance to help you discern, trust, and follow your authentic self at home, in your work, and in the world. We all yearn for a life that is whole—where “soul and role” are aligned and our innermost wisdom guides us in our actions. Perhaps no one has explored this topic more deeply than bestselling author and distinguished educator Parker J. Palmer.