After trying to live a habit of Lectio Divina for many years, the steps of Guibo II (oratio, meditatio, oratio, and comtemplatio) become like blinking (an autonomic response we do but don’t think about doing it). So does the idea of conversatio morae, conversion of life (the words moved to a vertical depth rather than horizontal change from this to that depth, comes to mind).
Perspective is everything in Lectio Divina practice. When I tried this new way (for me) of doing Lectio Divina, linking one lectio thought to another one, then to another one. The product becomes like chain mail, everything linking to the other because the thoughts are tied with the Christ Principle. Let me try to untangle the mess I just made to describe (not define) what I just said.
PLUNGING INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE MYSTERY OF FAITH
As I first learned it back in 1963 (when I knew that I knew about it), Contemplation is going within yourself to that room where Christ tells us we must pray in private and meet God. It is the place where no one wants to look.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 7* In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.*8 Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/6
As I understand it, Cistercian spirituality focuses on this inner room and tries to clean out all those antiques we have stored there for use at a later time but never use (conversio morae). My purpose is to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5) each day. I open my heart and mind to God when I perform Lectio Divina, Reading Scriptures, Eucharist, Eucharistic Adoration, Rosary, and Liturgy of the Hours. These are form prayers that help me focus my random thoughts on just one pinpoint of light, The Christ Principle. To sustain this focus against the tide of my humanity slouching up against my resolve to be silent and in solitude, I need the Holy Spirit. My technique is simple. I stand or sit in the presence of Christ when I do all these activities (like blinking) and be still in my heart. Simplicity replaces complexity with the help of the Holy Spirit. Resonance with God triumphs over the dissonance of Original Sin and its residue.
All I have to do is show up and keep my mind still in contemplative prayer. Silence and solitude help me with it. As contradictory as that might seem, even praying with others can be contemplative because I make it so. I am not you, and you are not me, so each one of us approaches the Christ Principle with the sum total of all those human choices we made or are making, good as well as the poor ones.
Even though I have confessed my sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the remnants of sins are part of who I am moving through the pattern of life each day. These sins leave bruises and cuts on my soul (like those Christ suffered in the Passion). Marching forward to the parousia, I am the sum of my choices, both good and off the mark. When I pray, the whole me prays, those many times I have failed to hit the mark of loving others as Christ loved me, those times I have, with God’s energy, united myself with the sufferings of Christ and offered up the whole me through, with, and in Christ’s sufferings and victories, to the glory of the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
VERTICAL LECTIO DIVINA
Vertical spiritual conversion is one where I take each moment of prayer and attempt to plunge deeper into the meaning and implications using the Holy Spirit’s energy to help me, based on my present capability.
I use the Lectio part (taking one verse or even one word of Scriptures) and reflect on it for at least a minute.
I link the old thought to the new thought and then reflect on that new one for at least a minute.
I repeat this linking procedure over and over. With this practice of contemplation, I have been able to sustain my thoughts (spiritual attention span) for over 90 minutes in silence and solitude before the Blessed Sacrament, focusing on The Christ Principle.
I do not say it will work for you, or for anyone, for that matter, but it works for me.
Here is an example of my Linking Lectio.
To have a habit, I must put on Christ each day. I don’t need to think about Jesus each minute of each day. This would be impossible and would not be good for my spiritual perspective. If I have in me the mind of Christ Jesus each day, and I consecrate this day to the Father through Christ, I just wear my habit next to my heart.