Bible Verse: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

Scripture Reading: Psalm 1:1-6

In Psalm 1, the blessed person is one who meditates on God’s Word. The author also tells us that the blessed person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither (v. 3). A tree planted by a stream is fed by the flowing water and the sun in ways that are not immediately perceptible to the eye: water nourishes the tree’s roots, the soil provides the roots with minerals, and the sun nurtures the tree as it activates photosynthesis. As water, soil, and the sun nourish a tree, so the Word of God nourishes our souls.

The ultimate end of Scripture is not the text itself but an intimate, joyful, nourishing friendship with the living God. The written Word helps us encounter and unite with the living God.

But how do we actually meditate on the Word? Saint Benedict offers us a practical model for meditating on Scripture through another ancient practice call lectio divina: a hungry, prayerful reading of the Bible. Lectio divina is a way of coming to the Bible, not like a computer manual that we feel obligated to plow through, but as a personal letter that we ponder and savour. When we practice lectio divina, our reading naturally leads to meditation, our meditation to prayer, and our prayer to feasting on the living God. When we meditate on the Word, we chew it slowly, letting its meaning spread through our blood.

Meditation takes time. Instead of gliding from one text to another, we focus on just one passage, one phrase, or even a single word. We reflect on it in light of our current circumstances: we allow it to convict and comfort us. We pray it. We revisit it at various points during the day or week or even longer. The goal of meditating on the Word is not to get through as much Scripture as possible but to go deeper so that its truth moves from our heads to our hearts, from study to prayer. One of the gifts of prayerfully listening to Scripture is that the Word becomes part of who we are; it lodges in the heart and becomes available as food for our journey.

Hiding God’s Word in our hearts is another way of thinking about meditating on Scripture. Our time in the Scriptures can be an immersive experience, where the Word softens our rough edges while also nourishing and growing us. One of the ways we foster such transformation is by speaking the text. Reading aloud, repeating the words, engages more of our senses and deeply imprints the text upon our minds.

Memorizing certain parts of Scripture also enables us to create an inner library that fuels ongoing meditation. Meditating on, murmuring, and memorizing the Word gives us the freedom to instantly recall it and actually live out what it says. It becomes food for our souls, food that nourishes our hunger for God.

— Ken Shigematsu in God In My Everything
Copyright © 2013 by Ken Shigematsu

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