Rooted in Love
My Sustained Lectio Divina
“I pray . . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” Ephesians 3:17
I have prayed with the Scriptures using a simple form for years. It was Guigo II in the twelfth century that gave the most familiar model: lectio, meditatio, oratio, contemplatio. But Sister Meg Funk OSB, wrote a book, LECTIO MATTERS, in which she reclaims a more ancient form of sustained Lectio Divina and that is the pattern Dr. Kathleen Cahalan continues to teach in our School of Lectio Divina. I have been using this prayer form since 2010 when Sister Meg facilitated a pilot program with our Benedictine Staff, and I’d like to give you a taste of how organically it flows when you stay with one section of Scripture for an extended time.
About two years ago, Ephesians 3:17 held a deep message for me: “I pray . . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” The passage “being rooted and grounded in the love of Christ,” invited me into images of creation. On days I could walk outside or work with clay, I pondered these images. A tree needs nourishment, I was coming to see, and is as strong as its roots are deep, because the roots give stability and sustains the tree through the storms of life. The trees have a deep relationship through the root system, which even help to nourish the weaker trees.
“Rooted and grounded in love,” also touched my life over those weeks and months. I was feeling dry and I found myself praying and journaling things like, “Deep roots give stability and sustains life nourishment. I need you, Holy Spirit, to keep me steady and stable when the storms of life arise.” I wanted to remember that love is all that matters, that Jesus does not judge but accepts me right where I am. I also wanted to remember that, like the trees, I needed others on my journey to support me.
At some point along the way, I felt led to write out the whole book of Ephesians by hand and that revived the ways the text was speaking to me. One day, as I was doing my spiritual reading, Ephesians 1:17-18 rose up in me. “I pray that God . . . may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Him, so that with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know the hope, to which He has called you.” I saw the same phrase come up in two other books, and I wondered, why do I feel like I have never heard this before? The word enlightened, especially, caught my attention, so I studied it’s literal meaning, searching several other Bibles to compare translations. They all used the word enlightened that convinced me that the Holy Spirit was inviting me to pay attention to something important.
As the months went on, praying a little with Ephesians every day, a question came to me: “What is the hope to which he has called you . . .” I felt invited to go back into my life to renew my first calling—yes Baptism—and also my vocation to the Benedictine way of life. It was a wonderful experience to spend time prayerfully reflecting upon my past life to now. I noticed times that my roots needed to be stable through the difficulties and when God opened my eyes and enlightened me to hold fast. I delighted in God’s loving presence over these many years of my life. And the whole experience left me grateful that it’s not over yet! More is yet to come!
This is a little taste of how sustained lectio has become a comfortable, fluid way for me to prayer with the Scriptures, with Creation, and with my own personal story. It continues to prove deeply enriching, and enlightens my life. These days I am now spending time with the Book of Wisdom.
Join me at the next School of Lectio Divina and I’ll tell you more. I would like for you to have experience in your own beautiful sustained lectio in conversation with God.
Interested in learning more?
Consider attending an upcoming School of Lectio Divina.
Learn more about core Benedictine values.