Lectio Divina Step Three: Oratio
Lectio Divina is a contemplative practice that originated in the monastic tradition and involves a slow and deliberate reading of a sacred text. The practice is divided into four steps: Lectio (reading), Meditatio (reflection), Oratio (prayer), and Contemplatio (contemplation).
Step Three, Oratio, is the stage of Lectio Divina where we respond to the text we have been meditating on by expressing our thoughts and feelings to God through prayer. It is an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the Divine and to deepen our understanding of the text through personal reflection and communication with God.
What is Oratio?
Purpose of Oratio
Oratio is the third step in the process of Lectio Divina, following Lectio and Meditatio. In this step, the focus shifts from personal reflection and contemplation to prayer and communication with God. The purpose of Oratio is to allow individuals to respond to the insights and inspirations they have gained through Lectio and Meditatio by opening up a dialogue with God.
Unlike Lectio and Meditatio, which are primarily focused on personal reflection and understanding, Oratio is a more active and outwardly directed step. It involves engaging with God through prayer and seeking guidance, direction, and insight.
During Oratio, individuals can ask God questions about their lives, seek guidance on a particular issue, or express gratitude for blessings in their lives. It is an opportunity to share one’s thoughts, feelings, and concerns with God and to deepen one’s relationship with Him.
How Oratio Differs
Oratio differs from the previous steps in that it involves a more intentional and active approach to prayer and spiritual communication. While Lectio and Meditatio are primarily focused on personal reflection and understanding, Oratio invites individuals to engage with God in a more direct and meaningful way.
How to Engage with God During Oratio
Some examples for Oratio include:
- Through petition: Another way to engage with God during Oratio is through petition, which means making requests of God. You can ask for guidance, strength, and wisdom to help you live out the lessons you have learned from the scripture.
- Through confession: Confession is also an important part of Oratio. This is a time to acknowledge your faults and ask for forgiveness. Confessing your sins to God can help you receive the grace and mercy you need to move forward.
- Through surrender: Surrendering your will to God is another way to engage with Him during Oratio. This means letting go of your own desires and submitting to God’s will. Surrendering to God can help you find peace and direction in your life.
- Through praise: Praising God is another way to engage with Him during Oratio. You can acknowledge God’s greatness and power, and offer your praise and adoration to Him. This can help you develop a deeper sense of connection with God and cultivate a spirit of worship.
By engaging in Oratio, individuals can deepen their relationship with God, gain greater clarity and understanding about their lives, and experience a sense of peace and connection with the divine.
Tips for Oratio
- Set an intention: Before you begin your Oratio, take a moment to set an intention for your prayer. This can help you focus your thoughts and guide your words.
- Use affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements that can help you focus your thoughts and guide your prayer. You can use affirmations that relate to the passage you have been reading, such as “I am grateful for the wisdom and guidance in this passage,” or “I trust in the path that God has set before me.”
- Visualize: Visualization can be a powerful tool for enhancing your prayer practice. You can visualize yourself surrounded by light or imagine yourself receiving guidance or inspiration from a spiritual figure.
- Journal: Journaling can be a helpful way to process your thoughts and emotions during your Oratio. You can write down your prayers, your intentions, or anything else that comes up during your practice.
- Practice gratitude: Practicing gratitude is a powerful way to shift your focus toward the positive and connect with a sense of abundance and well-being. You can express gratitude for the blessings in your life or for the wisdom and guidance you have received from the passage you have been reading.
- Remember that there is no one “right” way to engage in Oratio during your Lectio Divina practice. Experiment with different techniques and approaches to find what works best for you.
Benefits of Oratio
Oratio, the third step of Lectio Divina, offers a wide range of potential benefits for individuals engaging in this spiritual practice. Some of the benefits of Oratio include:
- Improved communication with God: Oratio provides an opportunity for individuals to connect with God in a more personal way. By sharing their thoughts and feelings with God, individuals can build a stronger relationship with the divine.
- Deeper sense of purpose: Oratio can help individuals gain clarity about their purpose and calling in life. By reflecting on their goals and aspirations, individuals can align themselves more closely with God’s plan for their lives.
- Increased gratitude: Oratio encourages individuals to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and express gratitude for the blessings they have received. This can help individuals cultivate a more positive outlook on life.
- Enhanced self-awareness: Oratio requires individuals to examine their thoughts and emotions, which can lead to a greater understanding of their inner selves. This increased self-awareness can help individuals make more informed decisions and live more fulfilling lives.
- Greater inner peace: By engaging in Oratio, individuals can find a sense of inner peace and calmness. This can help individuals manage stress and anxiety more effectively and improve their overall well-being.
How Oratio Helps Our Spiritual Journey
Examples of how Oratio has helped individuals in their personal lives or spiritual journeys include:
- A greater sense of purpose: By engaging in Oratio, individuals have reported feeling more connected to God and more confident in their calling in life.
- Improved relationships: Oratio has helped individuals develop a deeper sense of empathy and compassion, which has led to stronger and more meaningful relationships with others.
- Better decision-making: Oratio has helped individuals gain greater clarity about their values and priorities, which has led to more informed decision-making.
- Increased resilience: By engaging in Oratio, individuals have reported feeling more resilient in the face of life’s challenges and setbacks.
- Greater sense of well-being: Oratio has helped individuals experience greater inner peace and contentment, which has improved their overall well-being.
Oratio in Lectio Divina
In summary, Oratio is the third step in Lectio Divina that involves actively communicating with God through prayer and conversation. Its purpose is to deepen one’s relationship with God and gain insight into how to live a more meaningful and purposeful life.
To practice Oratio, one can set intentions, use affirmations, journal, or visualize to stay focused during prayer. Some questions to consider during Oratio include: What do I need help with? What am I grateful for? What is my purpose in life?
The potential benefits of Oratio include improved communication with God, a deeper sense of purpose, and a greater understanding of one’s place in the world. Many individuals have reported experiencing increased spiritual growth and personal transformation through regular practice of Oratio.
Want to Learn More about Lectio Divina and Oratio?
If you’re interested in learning more about Lectio Divina and Oratio, there are many resources available, including books, articles, and guided meditations. Some popular resources include “Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer” by David G. Benner, “Lectio Divina: The Sacred Art” by Christine Valters Paintner, and the app “Lectio365” by 24-7 Prayer.
In conclusion, practicing Lectio Divina with a focus on Oratio can bring about transformative experiences and deepen one’s connection to God. We encourage you to try incorporating Oratio into your spiritual practice and see what insights and blessings it may bring.