Lectio Divina: “the forbidding discipline of spiritual reading”

Spiritual theologian Eugene Peterson:

The Oxford don Austin Farrer, in his Brampton Lectures, referred to “the forbidding discipline of spiritual reading” that ordinary people have characteristically brought to this text that forms their souls. Forbidding because it requires that we read with our entire life, not just employing the synapses in our brain. Forbidding because of the endless dodges we devise in avoiding the risk of faith in God. Forbidding because of our restless inventiveness in using whatever knowledge of “spirituality” we acquire to set ourselves up as gods. Forbidding because when we have learned to read and comprehend the words on the page, we find that we have hardly begun. Forbidding because it requires all of us, our muscles and ligaments, our eyes and ears, our obedience and adoration, our imaginations and our prayers. Our ancestors set this “forbidding discipline” (their phrase for it was lectio divina) as the core curriculum in this most demanding of all schools, the School of the Holy Spirit, established by Jesus when he told his disciples, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth . . . he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-15; also 14:16; 15:26; 16:7-8). All writing that comes out of this School anticipates this kind of reading: participatory reading, receiving the words in such a way that they become interior to our lives, the rhythms and images becoming practices of prayer, acts of obedience, ways of love.

– Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (pp. 9-10)

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