A Sample of Lectio Divina


Lectio (the reading) from Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.


Meditatio: reflect on the verses…


Consider that the psalm speaks of three different kinds of evil: an active evil that walks about doing actual harm; an obstructive evil that stands like gossipers in the public square; and a passive, loafing evil that sabotages those who attempt to do good. By contrast, the one who does the will of God is settled, neither roaming about, nor standing around idly, nor sitting, but rooted in his environment, gratefully drinking in God's word. Inherent in the nature of this one is the bearing of good fruit, fruit that survives despite the barren environment because the steadiness of his determination comes from God.


Reflect that we censure active evil, as for example the person who has a drinking problem -- but we do not censure the obstructive evil of tolerating alcoholism rather than lovingly confronting it. And least of all do we recognize as a kind of evil our willingness to, for example, join in cutting public funds for treatment of alcoholism without ensuring that they are replaced by private funds. But all are part of the cycle of evil in this world, not just committing wrong, but tolerating it and detracting from those who would try to do good. The righteous person (in Hebrew, the word sadaq means both righteous and just, and thus we cannot be righteous unless we behave justly) determinedly devotes himself to repairing the world.


Remember that although we are saved by faith (Romans 5:1), we have been clearly warned that many people who believe that they are saved are actually fooling themselves (Matthew 7:22-23). We can only feel reasonable confidence in salvation if we spontaneously bear good fruit by doing deeds that reflect our repentance. Although deeds are not salvation in themselves, consider: "faith without works is dead." (James 2:20).       (Continues)