Lectio divina is a contemplative way to read short passages of sacred text. With the first reading, listen with your heart’s ear for a phrase or word that stands out for you. During the second reading, reflect on what touches you, perhaps speaking that response aloud or writing in a journal. After reading the passage a third time, respond with a prayer or expression of what you have experienced and what it calls you to. Finally, rest in silence after a fourth reading.
I invite you to practice lectio divina with this ancient love song:
My dove is my only one,
perfect and mine.
She is the darling of her mother,
the favourite of the one who bore her.
Girls have seen her and proclaimed her blessed,
queens and concubines have sung her praises,
“Who is this arising like the dawn,
fair as the moon,
resplendent as the sun,
formidable as an army?”
I went down to the nut orchard
to see the fresh shoots in the valley,
to see if the vines were budding
and the pomegranate trees in flower.
Before I knew . . . my desire had hurled me
onto the chariots of Amminadib!
[Y]our palate [is] like sweet wine
[f]lowing down the throat of my love,
as it runs on the lips of those who sleep.
I belong to my love,
and his desire is for me.
Come, my love,
let us go to the fields.
We will spend the night in the villages,
and in the early morning we will go to the vineyards.
We will see if the vines are budding,
if their blossoms are opening,
if the pomegranate trees are in flower.
Then I shall give you
the gift of my love.
The mandrakes yield their fragrance,
the most exquisite fruits are at our doors;
the new as well as the old,
I have stored them for you, my love.
Set me like a seal on your heart,
like a seal on your arm.
For love is strong as Death,
passion as relentless as Sheol.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of YHWH himself.
Love no flood can quench,
no torrents drown.
—Song of Songs 6:9-12, 7:10-14, 8:6-7 (New Jerusalem Bible)