Lectio Divina: From God##039;s Words to Our Lives by Enzo Bianchi Review by Patricia McKenna, ##039;The Catholic Bookshelf##039;
My love of scripture drew me to read Lectio Divina: From God’s Words to Our Lives, a book in which Enzo Bianchi examines the meaning of an ancient practice that has recently resurfaced in certain communities of the faithful. This practice, which is called Lectio Divina, is a beautiful spiritual reading and praying of scripture. As I had only limited experience with this specific type of worship before reading Bianchi’s work, I was immediately drawn to the subtitle “From God’s Words to Our Lives. The original version was written in Italian in 2008. Now I have the privilege of previewing this new English translation.
According to Origen (a third century church father), “There are three senses concealed in the words of scripture-literal, moral and spiritual.” We need to draw all of this out of the Bible as we read. The author tells us “The Bible as the heart of the church was rediscovered in Vatican II’s conciliar document Dei Verbum.” I love the description of scripture itself being God incarnate, not only as Christ (The Word) as he descends into flesh as a baby in the manger, but also as the written human words of the bible.
Lectio Divina begins with the history of how the bible has been interpreted, which has changed over time. Following this summary, Bianchi analyzes the importance of scripture in the church with the liturgy of the word…. Bianchi depicts The Bible as a call to an encounter with God. My favorite part of the work is the description of the four parts of lectio divina: lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. Lectio is the literal historical part. Meditatio is about discovered revelation. Oratio is prayer and dialogue with God. Contemplatio is applying what we have read to our lives. There are several examples of how to integrate this breakdown and analysis into readings in the bible. Through my reading of Binachi’s work, I have developed a new reverence for the bible as a relationship, a relationship I can use to spend time with God in his word.
…I would highly recommend this book not only to those who are already experienced readers of scriptures, but also to those who are new to bible reading. While the Lectio Divina is a Catholic approach to bible study and prayer, all Christians will enjoy learning about a process of divine reading that was practiced by the early church fathers in the beginning years of Christianity.
the Catholic bookshelf