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Lectio Divina: Read, Meditate, Pray, Contemplate for Lent


Sr Shelley Barlow expresses beautifully the Lectio Divina movement and what the Three Tuesday Mornings in Lent course means to her and for everyone who joins. Photo: Sourced

By Natashya Fernandez

Sister Shelley Barlow RNDM has this week talked about an upcoming course at the Centre for Faith Enrichment, entitled ‘Three Tuesday Mornings in Lent’, and what it means to take home the ancient practice of Lectio Divina, or divine reading.

Open to everyone in the Archdiocese of Perth, the course starts on 14 March, continuing until the 28 March from 10am to 12.30pm.

“Look at it like a good spring clean,” she said.

“Lent helps us to focus and get our lives in order. [It is] A very special time in the Christian calendar, starting with Ash Wednesday and till Easter, Lent is a gift and not a burden,” Sr Shelley said.

Aiming to enrich people’s faith in God, in Jesus in a Catholic Christian way, ‘Three Tuesday Mornings in Lent’ will look at the Sunday readings – the first reading, the Psalm, the second reading and the Gospel of Lectio Divina, a Latin term which means “divine reading”.

Simply put, it means, what is God saying to us in these readings?

Sr Shelley says the readings taken for Lent helps us reflect on our lives.

“During Lent, we fast and pray to purify our hearts before God. Most people want to see God and enjoy the peace of God, so at this time we have to discipline ourselves.

“These readings are like nuggets of gold and through this course, I want to teach this fact to the people,” she said.

Going more into the details of the Lectio Divina style, Sr Shelley says that it is a very traditional and ancient practice of Church through the Benedictine order.

As Sr Shelley explained, there are four movements – Lectio, where you read the passage, Meditatio, where you think about the passage, Oratio, the time to speak your longings and desires evoked by the Spirit in you and to talk to God, and Contemplatio, where you rest in the presence of God.

“Taking them through these movements, we will go through each reading slowly and deeply, and reflect on what it means to everyone,” said Sr Shelley.

So moved by this ancient style of reading and understanding the Gospels, Sr Shelley hopes that people who attend these classes will take home the true meaning of this style, and live a more fruitful and happy life.

Being a very important time in the Catholic faith, teaching this course is extra special for Sr Shelley as she says it is a time and a chance to be healthy and wholesome again.

“When I went through the readings, I thought I couldn’t really do better. The first reading from the book of Exodus, it’s the most wonderful story about Moses praying and talking directly with God.

“That’s how we should be before God, whatever our issues; we should put our masks aside and share with God as our true and most trusted friend that is Oratio. And, that’s the method of the

Lectio Divina style. It can nourish us in Lent,” she said joyously.

Listening to Sr Shelley quote passages from St Augustine’s Confessions, Psalm 94, the Samaritan women at the well and Moses in the desert will surely have you moved, for it did exactly that to her.

“We are on a journey of life and Lent helps us to focus, get our lives in order, like a good spring clean,” she retorts.

Wanting to attract more people to the course, Sr Shelley has gone out of her way to post leaflets at all churches, meet with priests and talk to everyone she comes in contact with.

“I want them to take away the Lectio Divina movement.

“I want to offer them the method so they can read, meditate, talk to God openly, to let go and learn to contemplate. I want to offer them this tool and teach them how to sit in God’s presence,” she concluded.

To register for the course, Click Here.