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Guide re-introduces ancient spiritual practice Print Email
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Monday, 24 August 2009 03:26 PM America/New_York
Study of Paul encourages a reflective reading of Bible passagespraying with saint paul

Praying With Saint Paul Using Lectio Divina: Acts of the Apostles (978-0-809-14645-1, $4.95), just released from Paulist Press, introduces readers to a major project supporting one of Pope Benedict XVI's recommendations for spiritual growth.

The 72-page softcover book presents the practice of "lectio divina," the reflective reading of Scripture that has been a popular devotional practice in the church from the earliest centuries. The four steps are: Read Scripture; Reflect on a small part of the reading; Pray on the message; and Act in response to God's call in daily life.

The new title centers the practice of the person of St. Paul through looking at the Acts of the Apostles, and is a forerunner to a full "lectio divina" Bible due next year. According to Pope Benedict XVI, the practice that aims to encourage intimate dialogue with God can "bring to the church—I am convinced—a new spiritual springtime."

Praying With Saint Paul Using Lectio Divina presents a suggested four-step meditation for each of the 28 chapters of Acts, allowing readers to use the book to practice "lectio divina" once a day for a month, each day of the Lenten season or twice a day for two weeks. The approach helps people "read the Bible more completely and prayerfully," said Mary Ann Carey, Paulist Press publicist.

"How often is not the most important decision," Carey said. "The commitment to continue it to the end of Acts is what matters. Part of the spiritual richness of the Acts of the Apostles is that, by reflecting on the whole book, readers will come to know the traditions of Peter and Paul as people of faith more profoundly, and to better pray with them and through their example."

Lectio divina is "for everyone ... not just for those people you may think of as elite in some way: priests and religious, the very educated or the very pious. Everyone can find pleasure and spiritual enrichment," Carey added.

Although the approach may be new to some, it is "simple enough to be done any place where there is some quiet or peace, and at any time of day when you can find a few minutes," Carey said. "It can last for as long or short as you wish to make it; you can spend three minutes or 15."

Praying With Saint Paul Using Lectio Divina uses the New American Bible translation, endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and precedes the release of The Catholic Prayer Bible Lectio Divina Edition (978-0-809-10587-8). Due to be published in January 2010, the 2,500-page New Revised Standard Version edition will be released in hardcover ($39.95) and softcover (978-0-809-14663-5, $29.95) editions.

To order, call 800-218-1903, or go to