Tips for Ending Lectio Divina: “Actio”

#1: Make a practical resolution

“The Word must always be made flesh, and so contemplation must lead to deeds of love. The labor of lectio, meditatio, and oratio comes to a climax in the arousal of love that contemplatio names and that love spills over into action” (Fr. Jacques Philippe, Thirsting for Prayer, 108).

Write down your resolutions in a small notebook and carry it with you during the day… Nothing will help you grow in humility like writing down your daily resolutions and then going over them at the end of the day and reviewing them at the end of the week. Daily resolutions ground us in reality, and help burst the inflated balloon of our pride, which has an amazing propensity to self-inflate (115).

“Above all things, my daughter, strive when your meditation is ended to retain the thoughts and resolutions you have made as your earnest practice throughout the day. This is the real fruit of meditation… You must diligently endeavor to carry out your resolutions, and seek for all opportunities, great or small” (St. Francis de Sales).

“Spiritual reflection in quiet hours is a necessary sustenance, but it must lead outward to hard, concrete demands on our life, or else it may escape from reality. The religious ideal is chimerical and even deceptive without the steady labor of sacrificial generosity to others, and especially to the poor. It is love for the poor, in all disguises of their misery, that draws us to a deeper love for prayer” (Fr. Donald Haggerty, The Contemplative Hunger, Ch.4: The Contemplative and the Poor).

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#2: Ask for the grace to carry out this resolution

As your meditation comes to a close, you need to commit to a concrete resolution, hopefully something practical for the rest of your day.

  • Journalling after you Commit can also help.
  • What went well?
  • What went poorly?

#3: Thank God for the gift of this time of prayer

Also, make sure to thank God for this time spent with Him and ask Him for the grace to be able to keep His Word in your heart and resolve to put into practice the particular graces you received during this time of meditation.

In what might seem like a direct contrast to the practical dimension of lectio mentioned above, Merikakis helps us to remember that since lectio is a time of intimacy with Christ, prayerful reading of Scripture is always 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” (Merikakis 439).

#5: Lectio inspired exegesis

Lectio inspired exegesis is a concept I learnt at the Institute of Priestly Formation from Dr. Gresham. You simply take the insight received in the prayerful meditation on scripture and seek further insight through exegetical study of the text.

  • For example: Take a key word you received in prayer and spending a few moments to learn more about it through a Bible dictionary online.

The habit of linking prayer to study and also linking study to prayer, which Dr. Gresham calls exegetically-informed lectio divina, can yield tremendous fruit for preachers too:

  • “This prayerful reading of the Bible is not something separate from the study undertaken by the preacher to ascertain the central message of the text; on the contrary, it should begin with that study and then go on to discern how that same message speaks to his own heart.” (Pope Francis, Evangeliii Gaudium, 152)
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