Contemplation – Contemplatio . Y

Contemplation – Contemplatio . Y

First we encounter it, then write it into memory, then we act on it, then we contemplate. Four steps to resolve all matters.

Learn . Write . Speak . Contemplate

First we encounter it, then write it into memory, then we act on it, then we contemplate. Four steps to resolve all matters.

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An unprecedented research perspective connects the Italy of the City to unsuspected and lesser-known places, in search of one of the most guarded secrets in history: the conceptual foundation of the auspicious rite of founding cities. Starting point, the unveiling of the hidden design of the urban form of the Etruscan city of Marzabotto and its analogy with the cosmological foundation of the three descending cosmic levels: the aerial, the terrestrial and the inferior. The auspicious rite of foundation is addressed to these dimensions, and to the related transcendent entities, the purpose of which is the reunification of the three templa in a single great templum.

The sequence of the ritual acts is then a sort of inverted cosmogony, where what the very act of birth has violently divided is brought back to the primeval unity. The liturgy of the foundation rite would thus continue to express in itself the evocative and dramaturgical power of the sacrifice of the cosmogonic myths of the origins, as a ritual re-enactment of the violent act of death and rebirth that arises at the beginning of time and at the origin of each new spatial order. The perpetuation of this act therefore takes place in the dimension of Time, where this is the expression of a Sacred Space whose essence is inherent in the continuous rotation  of celestial bodies around a center, or axis, which identifies their origin and beginning. 

Both dimensions thus reveal their sacred value in the geometry of the eternal movement of the stars, in the numbers and relationships that distinguish the rhythms and phases: first of all that relating to the design of the motions of the Sun – the Solar Templum – expressed by the arithmogeometric figure that describes the main annual sunrise and sunset stations on the observer’s local horizon. 

The geometry of the solar Templum of the place, as a union of the three templa, therefore, indicates the figure that identifies the spatial directions and the temporal instants within which the repetition of the miracle of the “Communion of the Worlds” takes place, a communion whose liturgical action is admirably expressed in the act of contemplatio itself .

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a method of prayer that uses Sacred Scripture to facilitate one’s relationship with God.  This form of spirituality is distinctly Catholic, but similar methods are found in other theistic religions.  Traditionally, there are four steps in the process – lectiomeditatiooratio, and contemplatio.  Each step is often thought of as “rungs on a ladder” leading up to the pure “experience of God” in contemplatio.  The process is also sometimes conceptualized as circular, with each step enhancing the experience of the others. 

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The first step in the process of Lectio Divina is lectio – a slow, prayerful, deliberate reading and re-reading of Scripture.  The passage used is generally a small section of Scripture, perhaps one verse or even part of a verse.  In this step, the key is to slow down and focus fully on the passage at hand.  The passage is read and re-read until one has entered fully into the text.  An example of a short verse from the Christian Scriptures which may be used comes from Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”


After one slowly and deliberately reads and re-reads the text, they move to the next step – mediatio, or “meditating” on the text.  In this step, one continues to “chew on” the text, pondering its meaning.  In the passage above, one may meditate on the true meaning of “patience” or “goodness.”  The practitioner focuses on whatever part of the text they are drawn to, and the specific section which grabs their attention is often thought of as being guided by the Holy Spirit.  Throughout the entire process, one strives to be open to how the Spirit leads them through the text.  


Meditatio naturally leads to oratio  – “praying the text.”  This step of Lectio Divina is often conceptualized as “having a conversation with God” about the text. The goal of this part of Lectio Divina is to discover what the text means to me, or how God addresses the individual through the text. Oratio is thought of as being deeper than simply thinking about a passage, and is conceptualized as a true relationship with God.


The final step of Lectio Divina is contemplatio – “contemplation.”  In the Christian tradition “contemplation” doesn’t mean “thinking deeply about something,” but rather the opposite – moving beyond thought to an experience at a deeper level than the mind.  In the process of Lectio Divina, contemplatio is often referred to as resting in God, beyond thoughts, beyond words, beyond images.  One can dispose themselves to contemplatio by willingly opening themselves to the experience, but the experience itself is seen as a pure gift of God, which He gives at the times and in the measure He chooses.

Lectio Divina is often associated with the Benedictine monastic tradition of Catholicism.  Although sometimes thought of as a method only suitable for monks, there has recently been a strong push in Catholicism to bring this type of prayer to all within the faith.   




Tim Gray, Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina. West Chester: Ascension Press, 2009.
Stephen Binz, Transformed by God’s Word. Notre Dame: Ava Maria Press, 2016.
Thelma Hall, Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina. Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1988.
Basil Pennington, Lectio Divina. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1998.
Michael Casey, Sacred Reading. Liguiri: Liguiri Press, 1996.
Guigo II, Ladder of Monks and Twelve Meditations. Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1979.

James Martin on Lectio Divina
Friar Mark Toups on the Four Steps of Lectio Divina
Thomas Keating on Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer

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