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474 • Part IV. Prayer: The Faith Prayed

and desire” (CCC, no. 2708). It is meant to deepen our faith in Christ, to

convert our hearts, and to strengthen us to do God’s will.

“There are as many and varied methods of meditation as there are

spiritual masters” (CCC, no. 2707). Most prominent among these are


Lectio Divina

of St. Benedict, the radical simplicity of Franciscan

spirituality, and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. These spiritualities

also include guidance for contemplation.

Contemplative Prayer

“Contemplative prayer . . . is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentive-

ness to the Word of God, a silent love” (CCC, no. 2724). Like all prayer,

this form requires a regular time each day. When one gives God time for

prayer, he will give time for one’s other responsibilities.

Contemplative prayer is a gift to which we dispose ourselves by

resting attentively before Christ. It involves hearing and obeying God’s

Word. It is a time of silent listening and love.

Lectio divina

is a reflective reading of Scripture leading to medita-

tion on specific passages. This is a centuries-old practice of prayer

which relies on the guidance of the Holy Spirit within the heart

as the person praying reads a Scripture passage and pauses to

seek out the deeper meaning that God wants to convey through

his Word.

“It is especially necessary that listening to the word of God should

become a life-giving encounter in the ancient and ever valid tradi-

tion of

lectio divina

, which draws from the biblical text the living

word, which questions, directs, and shapes our lives” (NMI, no. 39).