Lectio Divina means “divine reading” in Latin. It is done commonly with Holy Scripture, but the method may be applied to any spiritual work. Rather than reading to gather information, Lectio Divina is reading for formation, to be immersed in the text with prayerful reflection. Lectio Divina fosters slow reading, paying close attention to particular words, phrases, and statements. St Benedict favors it in his Rule and schedules it early in the day when the mind is still fresh.
There are four stations or “moments” to Lectio Divina:
1. Lectio — Reading the text, either silently or, better, out loud.
2. Meditatio — Reflection upon the text. One might read and reread the text slowly and audibly. One might also chant the text.
3. Oratio — Actively praying through and within the text; words are not necessary.
4. Contemplatio — Sitting quietly letting the Holy Spirit reveal knowledge in your heart.
One allows the text to reveal itself organically, and the interplay between the four stations is flowing and spontaneous. The point is to bring to bear one’s mental faculties — attention, reflection, prayer, imagination, memory, association, humility — in full concert with Holy Scripture, or whatever one is reading formatively. For another explanation, see The Classical Monastic Practice of Lectio Divina.