Thursday, October 09, 2008

"An Encounter with the Word": Synod Requests "Lectio"-n Day

In a notable request, the Fathers of the Synod have requested not just an explanation of lectio divina, but to be led in it that they might better understand the ancient practice of contemplative Scripture reading better.

Addressing a 2005 conference marking the 40th anniversary of Dei Verbum -- the Vatican II decree on the Word -- B16 said of lectio divina that "if it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime."

Ergo, the Synod's request can be filed under "better late than never."

Regardless, the tradition takes many forms -- individual and collective, earthy and liturgical, monastic and urban, etc. -- and resources abound out there on each... but of 'em all, one of its best-known celebrations takes place at St Michael's Cathedral in Toronto, where Archbishop Thomas Collins leads a monthly pontifical Vespers and lectio divina on Sunday nights that he began after an unexpected request for it from young people in his prior post in Edmonton.

A Scripture scholar (specialty in Revelation) named to lead the 1.7 million-member Toronto church -- Canada's largest diocese -- in late 2006, Collins' first lectio series (focusing on the Sermon on the Mount) began last September in St Michael's, and at its start he explained some of the practice's general principles:

Video of the entire first year of "Lectio TO" is available on-demand... yet before rolling it out at the cathedral, the telegenic cardinal-in-waiting warmed up by leading lectio in a field at a youth retreat:

...and here's part two.