Tips for 4th Step of Lectio Divina: Contemplation ( “Contemplatio”)

Whereas the first 3 steps require arduous effort, the last step is effortless and yet beyond all our abilities of mind and will.

Since it’s effortless…

  •  Contemplation is more like an elevator than a ladder.

Like gardening, prayer takes planting, tending, and harvest before we taste the fruits of our labors.

  • “Contemplation is both a gift from God and the fruit of all our labor and openness to the Holy Spirit and His promptings in lectio, meditatio, and oratio” (104).

Genuine lectio should always open our hearts to this contemplative dimension in which we receive whatever God wants to give us…

  • “Genuine lectio… should lead only to amazed discovery, wonderment, and deeply peaceful acts of love, praise, and self-surrender” (Merikakis, LD, 439).

Contemplatio is when God takes over. We go beyond the text to the Author and He gives us a real experience of Himself.

  • “The idea behind this final element is that sometimes, by the infused grace of God, one is raised above meditation to a state of seeing or experiencing the text as mystery and reality; one comes into experiential contact with the One behind and beyond the text. It is an exposure to the divine presence, to God’s truth and benevolence”  (Morello, 21).

God begins to pray with us, in us, and through us…

  • “Here God satisfies our ultimate thirst and needs as the Holy Spirit prays with us, in us, and through us. Sometimes we recognize this work in our hearts; sometimes it is merely a matter of faith that He is with us and imparting His life-changing grace to us. Always we can know that He is changing us because he has promised that the “word of God never returns void” and that as St. Paul says, “faith comes from hearing the word of God.” It is important here to note that this phase of prayer is not always sensual. In fact, for those who are more advanced in the interior life, it may be a time of dryness and a dark silence. Regardless, we know by faith that he is true to His word. If we seek Him, we will find Him, even if He is found in ways that are difficult, or very different than we had anticipated” (Dan Burke).


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