Turning up the flame. . . If we ask ourselves how
Francis did it, he left us several options: he
would engage God in the creation around him; he
would engage God in the persons he met; he
would engage God in the quiet moments of
contemplation, and daily he would engage God in
the Scriptures. We are called to do no less.
Down through the ages, our Franciscan spiritual
sources have placed these options of Francis
before us in different ways. St. Bonaventure, in
The Soul’s Journey into God, sets forth for us
three ways that we can come to know God in the
tradition of Francis. We can come to know God
from those things outside ourselves, creation for
example. We can come to know God from those
things that are above ourselves, those attributes
that pertain to God alone, omnipresence,
omnipotence, Trinity, to name a few. We are also
graced, as no other creatures, to know God within
ourselves. We can come to know God by the use
of our intellect, memory and will, our natural
senses. We can also come to know him through
our spiritual senses.

In chapter 4, St. Bonaventure writes: Therefore,
the soul believes in, hopes in, and loves Jesus
Christ, who is the Word Incarnate, uncreated,
and inspired, that is the way, the truth and the
life. When by faith it believes in Christ as the
uncreated Word and the splendor of the Father, it
recovers its spiritual hearing and vision; its
hearing in order to receive the teachings of
Christ; and its vision to look upon the splendor of
His light. Itinerarium, 4.3

The Journey, our spiritual journey, calls us to a
deeper understanding of Scripture. How are we to
make the Scripture come alive for us today? How
are we to enter into the Scripture and “hear” what
it has to say to each of us individually? Our Holy
Father has suggested Lectio Divina for all the
faithful: They are to be encouraged to engage in
lectio divina, that quiet and prayerful meditation
on the Scripture that allows the word of God to
speak to the human heart. This form of prayer,
privately or in groups, will deepen their love for
the Bible and make it an essential and life-giving
element of their daily lives.1
Exactly what is Lectio Divina, ( Sacred Reading),
and how is it practiced? Easily stated, it is
practicing the 4Rs:
1) Read (Lectio): Read the Scripture passage
through thoroughly.
2) Reflect (Meditatio): What is God saying to you
through a word, a phrase, a thought or this entire
Scripture passage? What deeper truth is being
revealed to you?
3) Respond (Oratio): How do you respond to the
stirrings in your heart, your conscience? How
does this passage challenge you to look upon the
world? How does it affect your interactions with
others? How does it change how you see
yourself? God spoke to you; what is your
response to God?
4) Receive (Contemplatio): Sit in the silence; sit
in the Presence of God; receive what it is that God
is giving you.
Use several of these passages to begin your prac-
tice, as they lend themselves to Lectio:
Matt. 16:13-17; Mark 10:46-52; John 4:4-26; Luke
10:38-42; John 8:2-11; Matt. 14:22-33;Luke 24:13-35
This is a very gentle way to put into practice the
wisdom St. Bonaventure sets before us. Enter into
the Scriptures and allow the Jesus of history to
turn up the flame in your life.
Apostolic Exhortations Ecclesia in Oceania, 22 November 2001

Taken from the Summer issue of  the TAU, the publication of
the National Fraternity SFO, USA.