Today was my formation group's quiet day and we took a Lectio Devina approach to The Prodigal Son (Luke 15). I think I first read about Lectio Devina through Bosco Peters with his amazing Liturgy site from NZ.
This is how Bosco describes Lectio Devina:
The tradition of reading the scriptures prayerfully to hear what the Spirit is saying to us, individually and corporately... It is different from and complementary to the scholarly study of the scriptures. Two people making love are not opposed to the scientific understanding of the biological processes, similarly, the love we experience from God in God's Word to us encountered in Lectio Divina is not opposed to careful exegesis.
I was very happy to be reminded by my friend today about this very important way of reading the scriptures because I have become rather stuck, reading scripture exegetically or with a particular hermeneutic or as a part of the Daily Office. Sometimes the scriptures are read slowly as part of the Daily Office at college and sometimes they are really brought alive with music or drama but more often than not, they are delivered without long pauses.
Lectio Devina might just help me to approach the scriptures and be more careful about what I am hearing. There is the space given between ideas in the reading of a passage.
...so we sat in a small room with glass windows through which we could see the stained glass of the church and read from Luke 15, very slowly, savouring each word, allowing it to flesh itself out in our imaginations as we waited for God to communicate his word to us by the power of his Spirit.
'...while he was still far off...' struck me afresh with real force.
I see that Father hitching up his robes and running to meet his son.
I am reminded of the words we speak after we have received the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ:
To God of all, we give you thanks and praise, that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home.
I am reminded of Jesus allowing Thomas to touch him if he wishes so that Thomas might no longer doubt.
I am reminded that when we think that we are not walking fast enough towards God, it is alright because he is running out onto the roads, hitching up his robes, running without a thought for the preservation of his own dignity, running out to meet us half-way, for our God to have given us his Son and with such an undignified death, we can trust that this is a picture too of our Heavenly Father who has gone to the farthest lengths to bring his prodigals home.
If you feel as though you can't find God, as if you are finding it difficult to come into his presence because of your circumstances, as I have of late, imagine perhaps that road, which you are walking down. You are penitent and want so much to be back in his presence again, don't dwell on the effort you are making, see instead clouds of dust in front of you, small stones flying to the left and right from the sandals of your Father as he runs the rest of the way to you.