Meditations are an important element in the meetings of the Ambassadors. Within the WWB, we have developed our own methodology to work with these meditations. This form of meditation is based on the Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina is widely used for personal Bible study in monasteries; the first forms date from the first centuries of Christianity. In recent years, there has been renewed attention to this Lectio Divina, also outside the monasteries.
The method of Lectio Divina is also used for Bible study in various parishes. In South Africa and the Philippines for example, the Lectio Divina has been designed in a special way. Here, the classical scheme of three or four steps has been expanded. The first steps focus on reading the Word and, as usual, there is a reflection on the scripture. What makes this parochial approach special is that it also includes the exchange and sharing with others. One contemplates the Bible as a group. Sharing with each other is an extra dimension in each conversation of faith. And then there is another step, resulting from the following question: how can we practice the gospel in our personal life? The Lectio Divina we use in our meetings of the WWB includes seven steps:
1. Lectio – this can be translated as: reading, and it means that we read the Bible text carefully.
2. Meditatio – that is to say: explanation. This step contains an explanation of the Bible passage, explanation of difficult words, and some background information.
3. Contemplatio – which means, of course: to contemplate. The main question is: how are we affected by this text, at this moment? The words or passages in the text form a bridge between the Bible and our own lives and experiences.
4. Collatio – or sharing. As a group, we discuss the Bible text and the other previous steps. When the group consists of many people, the group can be split up into smaller groups. The following questions may serve as a starting point for the discussion: which part of the text is particularly useful for you? What bothers you? Which thoughts does it bring you? In what way you feel challenged by the text?
5. Oratio – that is: praying. We end our conversation (the sharing) with a prayer. This can be an improvised and spontaneous prayer, or we can use a common prayer that fits our previous conversations.
6. Creatio – this can be translated as: creating. We use the theme of that day for a creative assignment. In each assignment, a different technique can be used.
7. Operatio -that is: to act. We conclude each meditation with setting goals and making appointments. Thus, each meditation includes a proposal for the realization of the theme in everyday life.