De Mello: Lectio Divina and More
The meditatio [meditation part in Lectio Divina] is done not with one’s mind, but with one’s mouth. When the psalmist tells us how he loves to meditate, how he finds it sweeter to his palate than honey from the honeycomb, is he talking about meditation merely as an intellectual exercise? I like to think that he is also talking about the constant recitation of God’s law—so he mediates as much with his mouth as with his head.” —Anthony de Mello in Sadhana: A Way to God (Liguori, 1998).
De Mello also offers a different way to practice the Benedictine Lectio Divina. He suggests we read Scripture (lectio) until the word or phrase comes that resonates with us, and then stop (meditatio) and constantly repeat the word with pauses. In this way, we pray not just with our mind but with our body. When we feel saturated with the word, we stop and enter into prayer (oratio). He also suggests a group form of the exercise, using chant along with large segments of silence.
De Mello adds a new dimension to the Jesus Prayer by imaging Jesus with each word, saying his name with each breath, and finally hearing Jesus call us by name.
De Mello tells the story of the major guilt of a man who just barely misses his father’s death. My experience is this so often is an impetus that brings many people to spiritual direction. I am constantly amazed at how God works. We are called back to God even—and maybe even especially—by those who have died.
De Mello calls us to live intimately and fully in the present moment in order to become a part of the great mystery of God’s love for us and for all creation. The present is where we meet God.