9 Sep 2010

Lectio Divina II - A New Spiritual Springtime

Excerpts from the address of Benedict XVI delivered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, on Sept. 16, 2005 to 400 participants in the international congress on "Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church." The Sept. 14-18 congress, in Rome, attracted 400 experts, including about 100 bishops. The initiative commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's dogmatic constitution on divine Revelation, "Dei Verbum."

"We are grateful to God that in recent times, and thanks to the impact made by the Dogmatic Constitution "Dei Verbum" the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been deeply re-evaluated. From this has derived a renewal of the Church's life, especially in her preaching, catechesis, theology and spirituality, and even in the ecumenical process. The Church must be constantly renewed and rejuvenated and the Word of God, which never ages and is never depleted, is a privileged means to achieve this goal. Indeed, it is the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit, which always guides us to the whole truth (cf. John 16:13).
In this context, I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of "Lectio divina": "the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart" (cf. "Dei Verbum," n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church -- I am convinced of it -- a new spiritual springtime.
As a strong point of biblical ministry, "Lectio divina" should therefore be increasingly encouraged, also through the use of new methods, carefully thought through and in step with the times. It should never be forgotten that the Word of God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (cf. Psalm 119[118]:105).

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