Pope Benedict XVI devotes Section Nos. 86 & 87 of his recently released Verbum Domini to the topic of lectio divina, usually translated “divine reading” or “sacred reading.” In “The Love of Learning and the Desire for God,” Dom Jean LeClercq OSB teaches a bit about the history of the lectio part of lectio divina:
What does this consist of? How is this reading done?….in the Middle Ages, as in antiquity, they read usually, not as today, principally with the eyes, but with the lips, pronouncing what they saw, and with the ears, listening to the words pronounced, hearing what is called the “voices of the pages.” It is a real acoustical reading….When Peter the Venerable was suffering from catarrh, not only was he no longer able to speak in public, but he could no longer perform his lectio….This proves how true it was that the act of verbalizing was not divorced from the visual. The latter was accompanied spontaneously by the movement of the lips, and the lectio divina was necessarily an active reading.
More recently, this was taught by Fr Mark Kirby in his instructions for lectio divina:
Lectio…is the sacred text read aloud in order to become the Word heard.
Read the appointed text audibly. Text becomes Word when you hear it.
I suppose that the next best thing to reading the Scriptures yourself would be having them read to you by someone else. When I facilitated a parish bible study, rather than having one of the participants read the chapter aloud, I would have us listen to it read eloquently by Alexander Scourby, employing my 25-year-old cassette tape set of him reading the Scripture. Now, I have the opportunity to upgrade from my old tapes to this recently released CD set:
RSV-CE ! And dramatized by famous actors! Can’t wait!!