Summary of “Are You Afraid of the Thief?” A Cordial Approach to Lectio Divina by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis

In his article, “Are You Afraid of the Thief?” A Cordial Approach to Lectio Divina, Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis shares some great insights about lectio divina. 

In addition to the 9 Qualities of Lectio Divina (click here), here are some other insights from this article.

#1: The goal of lectio divina = an encounter with the living Christ Jesus.

  • For lectio’s goal can be no other than an encounter with the living Christ Jesus, the encounter in mutual knowledge and love that, naturally tending toward union, gradually transforms us into his very image and person. For we become like what we admire, love, and adore.
  • Lectio is ” the trysting place with God’s incarnate Word” (439).
  • “Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 13:14), making ours “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16), is an excellent way to describe the goal of lectio divina” (453).
  • In trying to correct in ourselves this tendency to create a subjective pseudo-Jesus in keeping with our own image and likeness, a projected Jesus who can be conveniently manipulated to suit our every whim, our only alternative is to quiet down such “creative” impulses and strive to put ourselves in a contemplative attitude of receptivity before the text itself of the Gospel.

#2: God’s revealed Word is the ordinary and indispensable means by which we come to know Jesus Christ.

  • “Not only do we know God only through Jesus Christ, but we know ourselves only through Jesus Christ. We know life and death only through Jesus Christ. Outside Jesus Christ we know neither what our life is nor what our death is nor what God is nor what we ourselves are” (Pascal, Pensées, 729)
  • “Scripture has set him before us in his actual sojourn on earth, in his gestures, words and deeds, in order that we may have that on which to fix our eyes” (St. John Henry Newman).

#3: We must have a hunger for God’s authentic Word, a burning desire, like St. Therese, to enter as deeply as possible into intimacy with the Beloved of her heart, the Word Incarnate.

  • On 4 August 1897, as she lay dying in the infirmary of the Lisieux Carmel, Thérèse Martin confided a regret to her sister Pauline between painful bouts of hemoptysis: “Only in heaven will we see the whole truth about each thing. On earth this is impossible. And so, even regarding Sacred Scripture, isn’t it sad to see all of these differences in translation? If I had been a priest, I would have learned Hebrew and Greek. I wouldn’t have been satisfied with Latin. In this way I would have come to know the true text dictated by the Holy Spirit.”

#4: Lectio is an end in itself.

  • “Lectio is an end in itself, as disinterested in particular achievement as the glances exchanged between two lovers. The decision actually to do lectio, actually to expose ourselves frequently, patiently, and lovingly to the power of God’s Word, is the sole object of my present endeavor.”

#5: Lectio aims at fulfilling the essential aspect of our vocation = giving joy to God.

  • To delight in us, to find joy in us, to see his dream fulfilled in us: this is what was “in it” for God, this is what God so ardently pursues! In the Incarnation and the Cross, the Word sought us out so that he could delight in us. How many of us have ever considered that giving joy to God is an essential aspect of the human and Christian vocation? And yet, without that, what would it mean to say that God loves us and that we love him in return? For, what is love without mutual joy and enjoyment between persons, at both the human and the divine levels? We should never lose sight of the fact that this mutual delight between human beings and God in the person of the Word Incarnate is the goal of all divine and human efforts: delight is the deepest secret inscribed in the very heart of Being itself. And it is through the doors and windows of the Gospel’s words that we will find our way into the interior abode where we can be with Jesus in God. 447.

#6: The importance of transformative lectio for the apostolate.

  • The apostolate, theologically speaking, is the overflow of the Word and the Power that have been conceived within us by our union with Christ. Before birthing Christ into the world we have to be pregnant with him, and such pregnancy can only be the result of intimate, loving encounter with the Word. Apostolic ministry is more mystical fruit than willful goal; and so it would be ironical and self-defeating for the active ministry to obstruct our tender cultivation of relationship with Christ. At the very center of our person there ought to reign a habit of silent receptivity to God’s promptings that can grow only through prayer.



%d bloggers like this: