Do you have a friend who just spouts off quotes from movies you've never seen? Do you know someone that quotes songs completely out of context and expects you to know the song they are referencing? Perhaps you have a friend that cannot have a conversation without talking about their favorite football player and how awesome his stats are.
I'm pretty certain we all do this from time to time. Whatever we have chosen to immerse our lives into, whether it be movies, sports, games, or quantum physics, seems to greatly affect our speech, our habits, and the things we can remember.
One of the utterly useless things I remember is a code from a videogame I played more than ten years ago (for those of you who remember there was such a thing as a Super Nintendo, it was NBA Jam: Tournament Edition). Back then, video games were a very large part of my life. Thus, my exposure to them has seared this pointless information into my memory forever.
Yet, when it comes to important information, very often I have trouble remembering. I forget people's names. I forget birthdays for people who I really care about. I sometimes even forget the tasks that I want to get done during a day. I remember what is unimportant and useless while forgetting the things that really matter.
The Most Important Man to Remember
I bring this up because I have recently realized how important this 'remembering' is in my relationship with God's word. If I do not immerse myself in God's word like I immerse myself in music, TV, etc., then it will never affect my speech or habits and I will quickly find myself forgetful and ignorant of Scripture. And, as St. Jerome reminds us, 'ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.'
However, it's far easier to immerse myself in social media, videogames, or television than it is to be immersed in God's word. So how the heck do we immerse ourselves in God's word?
Lectio Divina may sound like a very daunting thing because it's Latin, but fear not! It is actually a very simple and very powerful way to immerse oneself in the Word of God. It consists of four steps: lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplation.
Lectio simply means 'read.' Start somewhere familiar, like one of the Gospels, and read a section. Before you start, ask the Holy Spirit, the author of Sacred Scripture, to come open your heart and to guide your mind. When you begin reading, read through the passage slowly and attentively. When you finish, read through the passage again and take notice of any words that stand out to you as you read.
In the meditatio (meditation) step, allow yourself to enter into the passage you just read. Perhaps you are one of the disciples or simply someone in the crowd. Use your imagination and bring the scene to life.
Also think about the words that stuck out as you read and wrestle with why they were highlighted as you read.
At this point, you move from the head and go to the heart. In the oratio phase, you turn over everything that was in meditatio to God in prayer. Ask him why the words stuck out, why the passage unfolded like it did in your meditation. Be sure to also listen to what the Lord has to say to you because He wants to speak to you.
The last thing to do is contemplation. Essentially, it's time to take it all in. Rest in what God has spoken to you in His Word. Simply just sit and be with the God who loves you.
Duc in altum!
In Luke 5, Jesus tells Peter to cast out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch. Let us follow Peter's lead, removing the distractions from our lives to go and spend time with Our Lord. Be like Peter and let down your net, your heart, into the unfathomable depths of Sacred Scripture. Spend time with the Word and let it transform your heart because 'for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also' (Matthew 6:21).