by Paulist Press
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.
“The Acts of the Apostles is the great story of the missionary life of St. Paul as an apostle. Through Luke’s dramatic presentation, the passion and zeal of Paul for the Gospel comes through clearly and Paul emerges as the model of the true disciple of Jesus, a man of prayer and of deep trust in God’s care.
The Book of Acts is the ideal introduction to Paul as the teacher of faith and prayer for our world today. Anyone who has wanted to learn Scripture more deeply, and discover a deeper contemplative level of prayer in his or her life, will find this book an invaluable help and companion.
Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us: “I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio Divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.”
In this book, there is a suggested four-step meditation for each chapter of the Acts of the Apostles (and sometimes two per chapter). Because there are 28 chapter in Acts, the is allows you to use this book to discover or practice Lectio Divina once a day for a month, or each day of the Lenten season, or twice a day for two weeks. How often is not the most important decision you make. The commitment to continue it to the end of Acts is. For part of the spiritual richness of the Acts of the Apostles is that, by reflecting on the whole book, you will come to know the traditions of Peter and Paul as people of faith more profoundly and to better pray with then and through their example.
Read. The first step gives you a very brief description of what the biblical passage meant when it was written, but clearly there is more to be found in the text than this very short thought. This one insight invites the reader to seek others.
Reflect. This second step draws out some implication from the situation described in the reading, but again there are certainly many more you might see and meditate on.
Pray. This next step suggests only one or two possible ways to begin a prayer. Hopefully the reader will add many more and literally pray up a storm!
Act. The final step in Lectio Divina is typically a resolution, and each person will surely have their own that applies to their own life.
As a whole the meditations are intended to stimulate us to discover our own way of praying and our own way of speaking with God, especially when the ordinary words of fixed prayers are no longer enough. This book is taken from the forthcoming Catholic Prayer Bible.’ It is a great way to pattern your prayer life with Lectio Divina.