The Importance of Lectio Divina for Seminarians

In paragraph 82 of Pope Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church (30 September 2010), he states the following:

The Synod attributed particular importance to the decisive role that the word of God must play in the spiritual life of candidates for the ministerial priesthood:

  • “Candidates for the priesthood must learn to love the word of God. Scripture should thus be the soul of their theological formation, and emphasis must be given to the indispensable interplay of exegesis, theology, spirituality and mission”.

Those aspiring to the ministerial priesthood are called to a profound personal relationship with God’s word, particularly in lectio divina, so that this relationship will, in turn, nurture their vocation:

  • it is in the light and strength of God’s word that one’s specific vocation can be discerned and appreciated, loved and followed, and one’s proper mission carried out, by nourishing the heart with thoughts of God, so that faith, as our response to the word, may become a new criterion for judging and evaluating persons and things, events and issues.

Such attention to the prayerful reading of Scripture must not in any way lead to a dichotomy with regard to the exegetical studies which are a part of formation.

  • The Synod recommended that seminarians be concretely helped to see the relationship between biblical studies and scriptural prayer.

The study of Scripture ought to lead to an increased awareness of the mystery of divine revelation and foster an attitude of prayerful response to the Lord who speaks.

  • Conversely, an authentic life of prayer cannot fail to nurture in the candidate’s heart a desire for greater knowledge of the God who has revealed himself in his word as infinite love.

Hence, great care should be taken to ensure that seminarians always cultivate this reciprocity between study and prayer in their lives.

This end will be served if candidates are introduced to the study of Scripture through methods which favor this integral approach.

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