The spiritual practice of “lectio divina,” the slow meditative reading of Scripture, stems from the monastic tradition, but is easily adaptable even to the more frenetic life patterns of non-monastics. Enzo Bianchi, the prior of the extraordinary monastery of Bose in Northern Italy, has written a helpful guide: “Praying the Word: an Introduction to Lectio Divina.”
When he was Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Martini conducted meditative readings of Scripture in Milan’s Duomo that attracted many young people. Some time ago he published an article in “America” magazine in which he warmly recommended its use in contemporary spirituality.
Pope Benedict himself is a masterful expositor of Scripture. Indeed, his book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” might be considered a extended lectio divina of the Gospels.
A week ago the Pope, as is his custom at the start of Lent, met with the priests of the diocese of Rome and delivered (I believe without a text) a long meditation on a passage from the “Epistle to the Hebrews”. Here is a section:
In the Roman canon after the consecration we have the prayer supra quae that mentions certain prefigurations of Christ, his priesthood and his sacrifice: Abel, the first martyr, with his lamb; Abraham, whose intention is to sacrifice his son Isaac, replaced by the lamb sent by God; and Melchizedek, High Priest of God Most High who brings out bread and wine. This means that Christ is the absolute newness of God and at the same time is present in the whole of history, throughout history, and history goes to encounter Christ. And not only the history of the Chosen People, which is the true preparation desired by God, in which is revealed the mystery of Christ, but also in paganism the mystery of Christ is prepared, paths lead from it toward Christ who carries all things within him.
This seems to me important in the celebration of the Eucharist: here is gathered together all human prayer, all human desire, all true human devotion, the true search for God that is fulfilled at last in Christ. Lastly. it should be said that the Heavens are now open, worship is no longer enigmatic, in relative signs, but true. For Heaven is open and people do not offer some thing, rather, the human being becomes one with God and this is true worship. This is what the Letter to the Hebrews says: “Our priest… is seated at the right hand of the throne… in the sanctuary, the true tent which is set up… by the Lord” (cf. 8: 1-2).