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Sacred Reading

The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina

This work offers a bold and engag­ing exam­i­na­tion of the West­ern tra­di­tion of lec­tio divin, the con­tem­pla­tive approach to sacred writ­ings, notably the Bible and the Spir­i­tu­al clas­sics. Liguori Pub­li­ca­tions, soft­cov­er, 151 pages.



Michael Casey, pri­or of the Cis­ter­cian abbey of Tar­rawar­ra in Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia, places the prac­tice of lec­tio div­ina near the heart of the Bene­dic­tine tra­di­tion. Although this is not a cook­book,” it is a prac­ti­cal guide as well as a the­o­log­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal intro­duc­tion. For Casey, lec­tio div­ina is a spir­i­tu­al dis­ci­pline with par­tic­u­lar rel­e­vance to an age marked by indi­vid­u­al­ism and resis­tance to dis­ci­pline. Read­ers will find his appli­ca­tion of tra­di­tion­al imagery of a spi­ral jour­ney into the depths of Scrip­ture par­tic­u­lar­ly illu­mi­nat­ing as a guide to read­ing sacred texts. That a spi­ral jour­ney is marked by rep­e­ti­tion leads Casey to remark that there is a kind of monot­o­ny that is not bore­dom but paves the way to a more pro­found expe­ri­ence.” This is rem­i­nis­cent of advice from Zen tra­di­tion: if you find some­thing bor­ing after a minute, do it for two; if you find it bor­ing after two min­utes, do it for four. Enlight­en­ment,” Casey writes, comes not by increas­ing the lev­el of excite­ment, but by mov­ing more deeply into calm.” Read­ers will find this book a most help­ful com­pan­ion in mak­ing that move.
Steve Schroeder

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