Lectio Divina for sacred Scripture… and ordinary life?

This article explores whether the way we are attentive to a sacred text can also be applied to our lives and ministry. Chris Hughes is a parish priest in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

In this ‘Year of the Word: The God Who Speaks’ the Church in England and Wales is being called to explore how the Word of God can have a bigger impact in our communities of faith. One ancient method that is being widely shared across the Church is the method of ‘Holy Reading’, of Lectio Divina. This is a way of being attentive to the Scriptures which allows them to reach deep within us and enable us to hear God’s voice in the text.

In The Integrity of Pastoral Care, David Lyall has a chapter on ‘Pastoral Care as Hermeneutics’.1 For some, such a title may provoke a puzzling response. Hermeneutics is the skill of being able to interpret texts, to be able to explore their fullest meaning. People may wonder how such a skill has any relevance to pastoral ministry apart from interpreting Scripture for homilies and catechesis. Lyall is developing a theme in pastoral theology first highlighted by Anton Boisen. The image he uses for the people we encounter in ministry is of a ‘Living Human Document’. What Boisen was seeking to do in this now famous image in pastoral theology was show that our lives are like a text composed of different dimensions, like a meaningful story with different levels. Our lives need attentive study if we are to make sense of them.2

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