Book Reviews

Review: Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina

Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio DivinaSacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina by Michael Casey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The art of lectio divina, literally holy reading is a long-established practice in the Christian spiritual life, particularly in the various monastic traditions of the Christian Church, both east and west. The practice dates to the very beginning of Christianity, though it became intrinsic to the monastic tradition based on the Rule of St Benedict, becoming a daily practice of those within the monastery.

The practice of lectio divina has escaped the monastic enclosure and become increasingly popular among many Christian seekers who, in particular, wish to become intimately aware of God speaking to them through the Scriptures. Though by no means limited to the holy reading of the biblical texts, the deliberate, meditative, and slow reading of the bible is all but identifiable with lectio divina.

This book by the Cistercian monk Michael Casey is a book for those practitioners of lectio divina who have been practising this art form for a while, yet who are looking to develop and refine their practice. This book assumes that the reader is already practising lectio divina and is familiar with the basics of the practice. It is, therefore, not a book for beginners.

Reflecting on his own practice over many years, Casey helps the practitioner of lectio divina with some advice in a number of spheres, with a particular focus on how to persevere in times of difficulty, and how to go that little bit deeper into the practice in order to hear God truly speak. Highlighting a few of the pitfalls that might come their way – although without insisting that they will occur – Casey gently encourages the readers of this book to continue with this wonderful means of allowing God to speak to them.

For anyone who regularly undertakes lectio divina, this book is a must read.

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