Here is the actual textbook practice even though there are slightly different forms of it so it can be introduced slowly and covertly into the church
IF your eyes aren't bugging out by now folks they should be-Preparation/ Focusing/‘Decantation’
Find a solitary place, then quieten the mind and body through rhythmic breathing and/or stretching, using some relaxing music if necessary.
Focus on the need to concentrate, to listen, and on being quietly attentive to the Word.
Other preparatory methods include repetition of a mantra prayer (e.g. Come Holy Spirit) or using the Focusing technique (cf. Gendlin, 1981).Lectio
Select a passage from scripture or a spiritual classic.
Read it slowly, out loud, dwelling upon every word.
Reflect on the words in each sentence.
After re-reading the passage slowly, select a word, phrase or sentence that somehow seems significant for you.
When a part of the text stands out, stay with it, repeating it over and over. If possible, sway your body to the rhythms of the text as you read it out loud.
Be prepared to take time with this first reading which, when done slowly, engraves the text on the memory (‘like a stylus on soft wax’; cf. Salvail, 1996, p. 46).Meditatio
In meditatio, the Word descends from the mind which knows it, to the heart which welcomes and loves it.
Chew over a selected word, phrase or sentence like a cow chews its cud, until you have extracted its vital juices. Linger over unknown and striking words.
Like the cow, don’t avoid chewing ‘tough fodder’ to produce creamy milk! Pass the Word ‘from stomach to stomach’ until full nourishment is drawn from it.
Use any image(s) that assist you in dwelling upon the Word. Imagine, for example, that you are harvesting God’s grapes, walking through God’s field, drinking from God’s well, or warming yourself before the Divine Fire.
Keep repeating the section slowly, without thinking too rationally or cerebrally about its meaning. Allow images and reflective thoughts to emerge.
(My Note DONT THINK? I thought we love the Lord with all our mind, heart and soul. God never tells us to disengage our mind-this sounds more like Yoda)
Keep repeating it until it permeates your whole being. Savour the words as if you are sipping and mulling over a good red wine.
Imagine you are reading the text as if it was a love letter written directly to you.
When this reading of the text has transpired, move gently into the next movement.Oratio
As the meditatio movement subsides, become aware of God’s increasing, ‘felt’ presence.
Now move almost imperceptibly to a state of prayer or oratio, as the Word moves from the lips to the mind, and now to the heart. This is a time of tuning in, listening to, and welcoming the Divine Silence, ‘the Voice without sound’. Thus oratio is transpiring when you hardly recognise that you are praying, so familiar are you in conversing with God.
Once aware that God is more strongly present with you, talk with God as with a friend, but don’t forget to listen too! (cf. Moses and God in Ex 33:11).
Listen to God and speak with God in words, images or silence, or, as Paul says, ‘with patience…[and] with sighs too deep for words’ (Rom 8:25, 26).
(My note-visualzation is a New Age thing-dont trust your imagination-cast down all imaginations)
If appropriate, enter into prayer of praise, petition, thanksgiving. Go where the prayer and God’s Spirit takes you. This is God’s Spirit working with your spirit, making you heirs and children of God (Rom 8:16-17).
If necessary, return to the earlier movements of lectio and oratio in order to savour the grapes of the Scriptures. Throw these like twigs on the Divine Fire and absorb its warmth and heat.
Become more and more present to God as it were with your arms outstretched, without any motive, in full poverty of spirit. Sit in God’s presence and listen for God’s still, small voice or, ‘after the fire a sound of sheer silence’ (1 Kings 19:12).Contemplatio
As the quality of your ‘listening’ deepens, you will hear new ‘noises’ both inside yourself and in the world outside yourself.
( my note-notice it says NEW noises-but yet the Bible states that my sheep know my voice John 10:27)
Words are now inadequate as you bathe in the light of God’s presence. You look at God and God looks at you. This look that will develop over time is the look of lovers that longs for an embrace.
The person, the body, the mind, the soul, are all still as ‘God passes by’ (cf. Ex 33:22). Like two people in love, you gaze upon God and you are held in God’s gaze.
If you enter into ‘silence’ or ‘darkness’, do not be afraid. God is still in the darkness, calling you through and beyond it. As Guigo II once observed, the pray-er is in the midst of ‘the silence which transcends every word and every feeling’.
(my note this all may sound good but we know also that the enemy can come as a angel of light 2 Cor 11:14-and again what happens when we cant feel God ? Is He no Longer there? Of course He is because His word says He will never leave or forsake us)Communicatio/Collatio
There comes a point where your chewing over the text, your prayer, and your silent gazing with God, slowly begins to shift towards a new movement. You are on the point of moving out towards the community and the world at large.
When it feels appropriate, share something of what has been given you by the Word during lectio, in a spirit of quietness and reverence. This may take the form of a word, phrase, image, insight, or challenge.
If appropriate afterwards, you can journal your response or otherwise express what the Word has given you thusfar in lectio.Operatio/Actio
As you move naturally into the final movement of operatio, you become more conscious of how you might respond to the Word. You have met Jesus, spoken with him—now you must share the Good News with others (cf. Lk 24).
The Word has been spoken to you. Like the ocean it has flowed into you. Now it is flowing through you and is washing over others. As you listen to the Word, you reach a point where you utter the ‘yes’ of true obedience (from the Latin oboedire, in turn from ob (to, towards) and audire (to hear), meaning to move towards with a listening attitude or heart; Hanks, 1986, p.1061).
Be aware that you are not ‘coming up with good, Christian ideas’. You are responding openly and naturally to God’s grace. God has provided an ‘opening’, you are being invited to ‘walk through’ to a deeper level of communion with God where contemplation and action are fused.
As the Holy Spirit continues to warm your heart, return if necessary to the earlier movements of lectio, to chew once again on the Word.
If appropriate, you may choose to end this movement with the simple mantra: ‘Lord Jesus, let everything that is in you flow into me. Let everything that is in me flow out to others’ (cf. Salvail, 1996, p. 61).
Conclude these movements by sitting in the light, the warmth, the cleansing waters of the Divine Presence.
Well there it all is
Thus endeth the lesson-