In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (which I encourage everyone to read), Pope Francis has a section titled Spiritual Reading. In it, he talks about the practice of lectio divina, a practice of prayerfully reading scripture and “allowing it to enlighten and renew us.”
Although many people are familiar with the practice, I thought it worth sharing the Pope’s suggestion for the practice, which give us some good questions to ponder:
In the presence of God, during a recollected reading of the text, it is good to ask, for example: “Lord, what does this text say to me? What is it about my life that you want to change by this text? What troubles me about this text? Why am I not interested in this? Or perhaps: What do I find pleasant in this text? What is it about this word that moves me? What attracts me? Why does it attract me?
Pope Francis goes on to talk about the temptations that sometimes arise when we make an effort to listen to what God wants to convey to us – temptations to water down the clear meaning of the text, temptations to think about what it means to other people and not ourselves, etc. He asks us to remember when such temptations arise “that no one is more patient than God our Father, that no one is more understanding and willing to wait. He always invites us to take a step forward, but does not demand a full response if we are not yet ready.”