Mike Aquilina

Praying the Bible

Thursday July 19th 2007, 3:03 am

A couple of years ago, my friend Karl Schultz wrote an excellent introduction to the Bible, The How-to Book of the Bible: Everything You Need to Know But No One Ever Taught You. Well, now he’s ready to take us to the next level, and help us to steep ourselves in the Scriptures prayerfully, the way the Church Fathers did. His new book is How to Pray With the Bible: The Ancient Prayer Form of Lectio Divina Made Simple.

Drawing from a variety of sources — from Origen of Alexandria to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini — the author guides neophytes through techniques of reading Scripture that were developed in the monasteries of the ancient Church. The book is practical and winsome, easy to follow, yet quite ambitious and deep. The author sketches how lectio evolved, from its “Pre-Christian Roots and Universal Nature” through “Jewish Origins” and into the era of the Fathers. He considers several approaches to meditation. Schultz also examines the role of memory and the senses and touches upon related issues such as praying with icons. And he tackles the most common problems: impatience, distraction, the lack of discipline, and so on. An especially helpful chapter deals with “Reading Plans for Praying with the Bible.” Schultz is keenly sensitive to the Bible’s traditional home, which is the common worship of the Church, the liturgy.

The book’s a steal at less than ten bucks!

Our friend Kevin made his own pitch for lectio this week.