and its current state only partially responds to this orientation. However, its existence had happy ecumenical effects. In some countries it has also measured the lack of familiarity of Catholics with Scripture.
The liturgy of the word is a decisive element in the celebration of each sacrament of the Church. It does not consist only in a simple succession of readings, but must also involve times of silence and prayer. This liturgy, in particular the liturgy of the hours, draws from the book of Psalms to make the Christian community pray. Hymns and prayers are all imbued with biblical language and its symbolism. This demonstrates how necessary it is for participation in the liturgy to be prepared and accompanied by a practice of reading the Bible.
If in the readings “God addresses his people” (Missale Romanum, n. 35), the liturgy of the Word requires great care both for the proclamation of the readings and for their interpretation. It is therefore desirable that the formation of future presidents of assemblies and their collaborators take into account the needs of a strongly renewed liturgy of the Word of God. Thus, thanks to the efforts of all, the Church will continue the mission entrusted to her “to feed on the bread of life from the table of both the Word of God and the Body of Christ, and to offer it to the faithful” (Dei Verbum, 21) .
Lectio divina is an individual or community reading of a more or less long passage of Scripture accepted as the Word of God and which develops under the stimulus of the Spirit in meditation, prayer and contemplation.
The concern for a regular, even daily, reading of Scripture corresponds to an ancient practice of the Church. As a collective practice, it is attested in the third century, at the time of Origen; he gave the homily starting from a text of Scripture read continuously during the week. There were then daily assemblies devoted to reading and explaining Scripture. This practice, later abandoned, did not always meet with great success among Christians (cf. Origen, Hom. Gen., X, 1).
Lectio divina as an especially individual practice is attested in the monastic environment of the early times. In our time, an Instruction from the Biblical Commission approved by Pope Pius XII has recommended it to all clerics, secular and religious (De Scriptura Sacra, 1950; EB 592). The insistence on lectio divina under its dual aspect, community and individual, has therefore become relevant once again. The intended purpose is to arouse and nurture “an effective and constant love” for Sacred Scripture, source of interior life and apostolic fruitfulness (EB 591 and 567), to also foster a better understanding of the liturgy and to ensure the Bible a most important place in theological studies and in prayer.
The conciliar constitution Dei Verbum (n. 25) equally insists on an assiduous reading of the Scriptures for priests and religious. Furthermore, and this is a novelty, it invites all “the faithful of Christ” to learn “the sublime knowledge of Jesus Christ” (Phil 3: 8). Several means are proposed. Alongside an individual reading, a group reading is suggested. The conciliar text emphasizes that the reading of Scripture must be accompanied by prayer, since this is the answer to the Word of God encountered in Scripture under the inspiration of the Spirit. Numerous initiatives have been undertaken in the Christian people for a community reading and this desire for a better knowledge of God and his plan of salvation in Jesus Christ through the Scriptures can only be encouraged.
Frequent recourse to the Bible in the pastoral ministry, recommended by Dei Verbum (n.24), takes different forms according to the type of hermeneutics that pastors use and that the faithful can understand.