I am always amazed at new understanding and insight that come through meditative reading and discussion. St. Benedict Center is hosting a five-week Zoom retreat called Lent: Lectio and Visio Divina led by Steven Blum, PhD. to provide an opportunity to gain new understanding of often-heard Scripture.

During the first week’s session, we connect with over 140 participants to learn about the ancient practices of Lectio Divina (sacred reading) and Visio Divina (sacred seeing) using the Gospel reading, Mark 4: 13–20 and the Sower illumination from The Saint John’s Bible.

There are four phases of Lectio Divina. The movement through the steps of these practices engages the heart, mind, and spirit, as we sit together in periods of silence, reading, gazing, reflecting, prayer, and contemplation. We seek to have the Lord awaken “the ears and eyes of our hearts.”

In practicing Lectio Divina, after reading the Scripture out loud, we contemplate, consider and reflect on what we have heard. The Scripture is read again, and perhaps again for a third time. After some time of silence, we are welcomed to share or journal a word or phrase that speaks to us.

A year or so ago, our oblate group used this same reading, Mark 4: 13–20, for our monthly oblate Lectio Divina. Including the illumination from The Saint John’s Bible during the Zoom retreat brought new levels of meaning and insight. For example, notice that Jesus isn’t throwing the seeds where you might expect—literally in the margins of the page. By enhancing our reading with the illumination, we can see that Christ is in places we might not typically think of, not just in the church. Jesus is dressed in contemporary clothing, representing our modern-day call to sow our seed, regardless of the soil that it might fall on.

See the May 2022 Lectio Divina and Oblate Reflections HERE.

Dr. Blum closed our meditative reading and discussion by sharing the 2022 Lenten message of Pope Francis.

See Pope Francis’ full Lenten message HERE.

Learn more about retreats offered at St. Benedict Center HERE.

© Jodi Blazek Gehr, Being Benedictine Blogger