An important part of a monk’s day is what is called “lectio divina,” Latin for “sacred reading,” usually understood as prayerfully reading Sacred Scripture (the Bible), slowly meditating on a text and listening to God’s voice.

At Christ in the Desert we dedicate an hour each day, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, to the practice of lectio divina. In the Rule of Saint Benedict, this activity is intended to nourish and enrich the life of the monk, animate his life of prayer and service, letting one’s lectio overflow to all that the monk thinks, says and does. That is the ideal, of course, and likely never perfectly attained in this life! But we never give up on the project.

The focus of lectio divina is not on acquiring knowledge, per se, but listening to God, who speaks to humans in the inspired texts of Scripture.

Lectio divina is not just for monks, but for all who seek the path of living in and for Christ. There are many good books and material online about lectio divina, but the essence of it is simply to opening the Bible, reading a portion of it, and dwelling in the presence of God while pondering God’s saving deeds in former times and in the present, in our personal and communal lives.

Abbot Christian and the monks