The Bible is ancient, enigmatic, and from a culture vastly different from our own. That’s why most of us find it hard to read. So how can we understand its importance in thechurch, and how can it enrich our lives? Central to lectio divina is the conviction that to read the Bible faithfully and prayerfully is to learn an ancient art—by entering into dialogue with the God who speaks to each of us through the biblical page. Enzo Bianchi touches on the essentials of the history of lectio, from the brilliantthinker Origen in the third century to the development of historical criticism in the modern era. He explains how to do lectio and how to understand and implement its four “moments”—lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. This is not simply a book about how to approach the Bible, because Scripture ultimately wants to lead us beyond itself, to the truth and mystery of Christ that can never be captured fully in the written word.
“Withhis deep biblical wisdom, Bianchi is able to explore the whole Christian tradition of prayerful reading. St. Benedict mandates at least two hours of lectio divina a day for his monks, which is a considerable challenge for the modern person. But with Enzo as our guide, we can do it!”
—Terrence G. Kardong, osb, editor of American Benedictine Review
“Enzo Bianchi was born in Castel Boglione, Piedmont, Italy, in 1943. In 1965, after graduating from the University of Turin, he founded an ecumenical monastic community—the Bose Community—of which he is still the prior. Friar Bianchi is a well-known author of books on lectio divina and the spiritual life, which have been translated intomany languages. He has dedicated himself to the search for spirituality capable of giving life to Christians today and furthering communion among all people. The Bose Community now numbers over eighty brothers and sisters of variousChristian traditions, and receives thousands of visitors annually. Enzo Bianchi is one of the most significant Christian voices in Europe. He shows what can be achieved by an immersion in Scripture that involves both intellect and imagination alike, and—in common with all themost serious Christian voices of our day—he cannot be labeled as a partisan “liberal” or “traditionalist.” Heoffers exactly what the monastic voice at its truest has always offered: a way into the heart of our ecclesial and social questions that is honest, patient, and sensitive. His is a perspective that the English-speaking Christian world should welcome enthusiastically.”
—Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge
“I hope that these pages may be heard asa simple yet faithful echo of my personal experience, my community’s path and my journey with the church. For years, I have broken the bread of the Word for the brothers and sisters in my community. Much of what I say here comes from that experience. It also comes from many years of preaching the Word to listeners from all walks of life. I would like to see this book ultimately as no more than a small gesture of gratitude to those witnesses of the Word whom the Lord has allowed me to meet, those “martyrs” of faith who have found ways to express all the richness of the Gospel intheir lives. Only those people who put God’s Word into practice have really heard it. They are the ones who truly understand the biblical text, because they obey withoutdelay the word Christ never tires of speaking to us. The sequential sancti evangelii for today—today’s Gospel—is not the product of brilliant scholarly research. It is the life and witness of God’s holy people, those who are faithful disciples of the Word made flesh, their Lord.”