The Importance of Living a Holy Life for Lectio Divina

St. Teresa’s starting point is the absolutely basic condition for a serious prayer life: an earnest, continuing effort to rid oneself of sins, imperfections and attachments. Teresa does not focus on methods or techniques. Christic communion is a love matter before it is anything else. We begin a serious prayer life by practicing the ordinary virtues with extraordinary fidelity and entirety. Negatively – get rid of everything that does not lead to God. Positively – do all for the glory of God.

  • The whole aim of any person who is beginning prayer—and don’t forget this, because it is very important—should be that he work and prepare himself with determination and every effort to bring his will into conformity with God’s will.” She then adds that “it is the person who lives in more perfect conformity who will receive more from the Lord and be more advanced on this road [of prayer]” (St. Teresa of Avila).

“The monk who wants to attain knowledge of the Scriptures should not waste his efforts on the books of the commentators, but should rather direct all the activity of his spirit and all the attention of his heart to the purification of the vices of the flesh. Once these have been driven out, and the veils of the passions have been lifted, the eyes of the heart will naturally contemplate the mysteries of the Scriptures. For the grace of the Holy Spirit has not taught these mysteries for them to remain unknown and dark; rather, they became such through our own fault, when we allow the veil of sin to darken the eyes of our heart. Once these have been restored to their natural health, the simple reading of Sacred Scripture amply suffices all by itself for the contemplation of true knowledge” (John Cassian, Institutes, 5, 34).

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