St Benedict writes in Chapter 4 of his Rule: “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else”, and he continues in words apropos of our present world’s need. The work that the world needs us to do must begin, not with an external authority or power, but in the forum of the soul—here in each of our hearts.
Why is it that of all the monastic pursuits, lectio divina is among the most iconic and indelible? The only way to learn how the love of Christ is to come before all else—Christ in prayer and Christ in our every neighbor—is to allow the Holy Spirit to press the Word of Christ home in us. We are challenged and formed by this living and active word which will not leave us either in our complacency or in our misery. We do lectio so that the Holy Spirit may, in season and out of season, correct, rebuke, and encourage us with patience and careful instruction, first in the forum of our hearts so that we may know and love ourselves and then in the circle of our relationships so that we may begin to love others, until we come to the fullness of maturity in Jesus, and are truly of his kingdom.