Recensie(s)Wait a minute, I interrupted. Read that again. Is that really in Deuteronomy? My husband and I are reading through the Bible this year - together and out loud...Without even knowing it, we have been joining hands with the medieval church fathers who understood that Scripture was meant to be read out loud. We are hearing the voces paginarum (voice of the pages). God speaks. We listen. ... Lectio Divina is aptly subtitled From God's Word to Our Lives because the focus of Lectio Divina [divine reading] is spiritual reading of Scripture that allows the Word sent by God to accomplish its course, yielding fruit in human hearts ... ... Beginning with sound hermeneutical principles, Lectio Divina promotes a high view of Scripture, its unity in Christ, its inspiration, and the importance of faith to a right understanding of biblical content. Beginning with the Bible's own accounts of how the Word of God was read, Bianchi traces a brief history of Biblical interpretation throughout the ages into modern times. This historical perspective is a salient reminder that any method that achieves dominance risks becoming an idol. For this reason, it is important to underscore the point that Lectio Divina: From God's Word to Our Lives is not a checklist but, instead, a way of communing with God through His own Words, while practicing the obedience of faith individually and in community with the body of Christ. Differentiating among the four stages of Lectio Divina is actually misleading, for Lectio, the reading/listening/attending to the Word of God becomes Meditatio (Meditation) as the reader reflects, studies, and applies the text. Answering God's Word with a response from the soul is dialogue, Oratio (Prayer), with the God who speaks. Then, like Mary, the reader ponders these things in the heart, opening the way to Contemplatio (Contemplation). The intended flow is Scripture - Prayer - Life, a stream in which Truth moves from the page to our lives. It is this reading/listening/prayer that set Israel apart as God's people, and Bianchi argues that it is the hallmark of God's people today. We are the people of the Book. We should come to the Bible as we would approach a person we want to get to know better. We listen to learn ... His conclusions impact very practically on both child training and personal evangelism as passing on our faith to others means handing down the Scripture. His clear-eyed acknowledgment that the Bible makes for challenging reading for most present-day readers is balanced with the reminder that our reward is a more active inner life and an enhanced ability to think. As the Word became flesh in Christ, may it once again find its way into our flesh as we see Christ in the Word, and the world sees the Word in us. -Calvin Morin Bianchi's remarkable accomplishment in Lectio Divina is reconciling recent scholarly trends in biblical interpretation with a devotional use of the Bible. As scholarship that draws from pre-critical hermeneutics proliferates, Bianchi shows how the insights of such scholarship can only be fully accessed through Spirit led engagement with the text. Some books that seek to revive ancient spiritual practices get bogged down in technique. Bianchi offers a broad theology of Scripture. He never dictates the minutia of how spiritual reading is to be achieved. Instead, he charts the basics of a path through the Bible that reads along the grain of the text, respecting the unity that the Spirit creates from a diverse set of books. Bianchi's prescription of the lectio divina is sorely needed as a way of bringing coherence to our scattered spiritual lives. -Andrew Stout for The Englewood Review of Books This is not your ordinary book about lectio divina. For one thing, it does not begin to give indications about the how-tos of the ancient spiritual practice until two-thirds of the way through the book. The reason for that is that the author thinks it is useless to know techniques if you do not understand that the underlying principle, in this case the sacramentality of the Bible as the work of God, a concept which has been underground in the western Church for a long time. Another difference from many contemporary books on lectio divina is that the author does not suggest that just any old text (or new text, for that matter) will do. Brother Enzo Bianchi, a Roman Catholic, is the founder and still prior of the ecumenical monastic Bose Community of men and women, which he and a few colleagues inaugurated in 1965 in northern Italy. Bianchi's deep understanding of Scripture and the early monastic tradition has made him an important voice of the post-Vatican II era, and his influence in the Church as the founder of a new ecclesial community has dramatically increased under the last two Popes. Pope Benedict XVI invited him to the Synod on the Word of God in 2008 and the Synod on the New Evangelization in 2012, and in 2014 Bianchi was appointed by Pope Francis as a consulter for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. This is a book worth reading and rereading.-Jerome Kodell, O.S.B., Subiaco Abbey, American Benedictine Review Enzo Bianchi is a gifted scholar known as the founder of a dynamic monastic community and for his ecumenical work. This is not so much a how-to manual, rather a lectio on lectio kind of book. Bianchi engages both mind and heart, offering a gentle challenge to readers in our contemporary need for transformation.- Sister Laura's Scriptorium, St. Placid Priory My love of scripture drew me to read Lectio Divina: From God's Words to Our Lives, a book in which Enzo Bianchi examines the meaning of an ancient practice that has recently resurfaced in certain communities of the faithful. This practice, which is called Lectio Divina, is a beautiful spiritual reading and praying of scripture. As I had only limited experience with this specific type of worship before reading Bianchi's work, I was immediately drawn to the subtitle From God's Words to Our Lives. The original version was written in Italian in 2008. Now I have the privilege of previewing this new English translation. According to Origen (a third century church father), There are three senses concealed in the words of scripture-literal, moral and spiritual. We need to draw all of this out of the Bible as we read. The author tells us The Bible as the heart of the church was rediscovered in Vatican II's conciliar document Dei Verbum. I love the description of scripture itself being God incarnate, not only as Christ (The Word) as he descends into flesh as a baby in the manger, but also as the written human words of the bible. Lectio Divina begins with the history of how the bible has been interpreted, which has changed over time. Following this summary, Bianchi analyzes the importance of scripture in the church with the liturgy of the word... Bianchi depicts The Bible as a call to an encounter with God. My favorite part of the work is the description of the four parts of lectio divina: lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. Lectio is the literal historical part. Meditatio is about discovered revelation. Oratio is prayer and dialogue with God. Contemplatio is applying what we have read to our lives. There are several examples of how to integrate this breakdown and analysis into readings in the bible. Through my reading of Binachi's work, I have developed a new reverence for the bible as a relationship, a relationship I can use to spend time with God in his word. ...I would highly recommend this book not only to those who are already experienced readers of scriptures, but also to those who are new to bible reading. While the Lectio Divina is a Catholic approach to bible study and prayer, all Christians will enjoy learning about a process of divine reading that was practiced by the early church fathers in the beginning years of Christianity. -Patricia McKenna, The Catholic Bookshelf The heart of this book by Br. Enzo Bianchi is found in Part One. This engaging section constitutes a theology of lectio divina, astutely grounded in patristic and monastic sources. Bianchi releases the Word of God from myopically-constructed cages, inviting readers to a larger perspective in which the Word of God goes beyond the Bible and is not fully captured by it. Throughout, Bianchi quotes liberally and convincingly from Dei Verbum, Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, solemnly promulgated by Pope Paul VI on Nov. 18, 1965 The four senses of Scripture, hermeneutical levels developed since the earliest centuries in the Christian tradition, are called into service to grasp the nature of an authentic practice of lectio divina. Bianchi clearly honors exegetical scholarship while inviting the seeker to embrace the Word of God on each interpretive level, using these four senses of Scripture to uncover the different strata of meaning in the biblical text. An authentic practice of lectio divina rests on these levels of hermeneutical approach--the literary or historical-critical approach, the tropological or moral sense, the allegorical or behavioral sense and the anagogical or mystical sense. The author endorses a living hermeneutic in the Word grows when the church interprets. After a soul-expanding plunge into this large understanding of the Word in the first half of this little volume, reading Part Two with its instructive points for lectio practice is like coming down the mountain after the transfiguration to ordinary, worn-out daily discourse. Referring to Guigo II's ladder image, Bianchi utilizes the term steps, a term which tends to mislead moderns who often prefer a clear set of directions to tackle a job. However, if one can resist the lure of a more methodical approach and honor the fluid flow of the lectio process, an approach no doubt assumed by this master teacher, one finds enthusiastic encouragement for daily fidelity in praying the Scriptures. Bianchi emphatically prefers the Scriptures themselves as the source for lectio. There is no room in Bianchi's approach for cold analytical study of the Scriptures. We understand Scripture to the extent to which we live it. In lectio, the pray-er encounters and savors the Word of God in Scripture, allowing the Word present in and beyond the Bible to penetrate bones and marrow, mind and heart. Following Gregory the Great's hermeneutical key, exegesis in ecclesia--understanding the Bible by living with others as a church community--and drawing upon the wisdom of Dei Verbum (25), Bianchi reminds the reader that biblical interpretation is the prerogative of every baptized person. I heartily recommend this volume to readers looking for both a theological breadth and depth to understanding the ancient art of lectio divina.-Jeanne Ranek, OSB Just as no one can pass through life without the direction of others and grace from above, so too no one can wander into the pages of the Bible without a guide to reveal the path. Only someone who has sought to blend the Scriptures into his or her daily thoughts and actions, in turn, is capable of speaking credibly on the necessity of the Bible for the Christian life of faith and virtue. Enzo Bianchi possesses such an authoritative voice, thanks to his decades of meditation on Scripture within his monastic community of Bose, and his prayerful insights are spread across every page of his book Lectio Divina: From God's Word to Our Lives. The scope of the book is simple enough: to conduct the reader into the world of lectio divina, a manner of praying with Scripture that seeks a living dialogue with the Lord through the historical Word spoken in the sacred books. A proper orientation to lectio divina, however, requires a complicated overview of theology, Church history, and hermeneutics; fortunately, Bianchi is skilled at presenting the complex mysteries of Scripture and theology in an eloquent yet understandable way. He has clearly immersed himself in the refreshing waters of the Church Fathers, and their vision of Scripture, too unfamiliar to the vast majority of Christians today, guides Bianchi's every step in this book. Citations of great patristic authors such as Origen, Jerome, and Gregory the Great are abundant; one of the great merits of the book is precisely this introduction to the thought of the Fathers. Yet Bianchi also manages to identify the Jewish roots of the Christian interpretation of Scripture, illustrating the dependency of several interpretative tools on principles found in the Mishnah and Talmud. The fundamental prayer of the Jewish people, the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4), begins with the word Listen, and Bianchi devotes many helpful pages to the Christian understanding of the dialogue of speaking and listening between the individual and God. He succeeds admirably in describing the various ways of interpreting Scripture, and makes a compelling case for lectio divina as a fundamental treasure of the Church's Tradition which must nourish the present lives of Christians every day. A recurring theme in this book is the inspiration an individual believer finds within a community that searches the Scriptures together, drawing as from a fountain living waters of wisdom to nourish their faith. This epiclesis, or invocation of the Holy Spirit, conveys the same Spirit to readers of the Bible today that animated the biblical authors themselves, as well as those first Christians whose meditations on the prophets and Gospels form the bedrock of our faith today. Bianchi explains the classic terms of lectio divina in accessible and practical language, and offers concrete suggestions for committing to this type of prayer on a daily basis. He also provides practical encouragement when faced with obstacles in prayer, whether those be difficult passages of the Bible or the myriad distractions of the modern world. In short, I am happy to recommend this book to those Christians in search of a knowledgeable guide through the dark yet inviting forest of Scripture- Bianchi has forged a path through them, and carries a lantern whose light reaches us in the pages of his book. -Fr. Thomas
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