Lectio/Contemplatio

Timothy writes: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instructions for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed (2 Timothy 3:16-17).” This means that for us to truly follow God’s lighted path, we must study the Bible, and according to Timothy, the Scriptures.

Lectio is the study of the Scriptures; I expand that to all of the Bible, since the first practitioners were the early Hebrews; the concepts are very old in origin. It is reading, meditation, and prayer. Contemplatio is to observe, note, or notice. I practice these concepts because it treats the Bible, particularly the New Testament, as the living word of God, and it emphasizes my communion with God. It brings God to the center of my very core.

One of my recent emails contained this New Testament verse as a thought for the day: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).” One of the suggested paths for studying lectio is to select a word or short phrase; in this case, I choose revealed. I read those passages right before and right after this verse, situating myself in the midst of the writer’s mind. I meditate on how Paul uses the word and prayer for guidance in my understanding of my relationship with God.

I contemplate, I re-read, I meditate more. Within moments a feeling of understanding enters my being and it is revealed to me that God invites me to live by faith. Using the concepts of lectio and contemplatio, I am enlightened and gladdened by the eternal presence of God within me.

© Russell Kendall Carter

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