• Prayer Know how to skip what is common-place, of little interest.
    Know how to pause over what helps you to pray.
    Get to the heart of it - chew it over - think about it during the day, so that it feeds you.

Above all, read it with the heart.

  • Study Here the heart should not be inattentive, but the understanding has more
    work to do.
    Make up your mind to read the whole book, even if it does not seem to feed your prayer directly.

The noviciate is where we learn to read and to pray.


There are many ways in which we can make our lectio divina fruitful, and do it thoroughly; ways which I have used myself or heard about. In presenting such a wide subject, I must first explain that I have not practised them all. Secondly, I have been doing it for forty years; and over such a long period of time one grows and changes. So do not think you have to take everything; find what is most profitable for yourself. What is important is that what you read does not go in one eye and out of the other. It should strengthen and nourish your life of prayer.


I. THE FLOWER: Simply write down a beautiful phrase or passage. One can keep it in one's pocket to re-read during the day and so continue one's prayer

II. THE FLORILEGIUM: This is a bouquet of flowers.
Florilegium comes from Flowers - I tie = I tie the flowers together.

There are various kinds of florilegia:

A Simple florilegia: On separate pages in a notebook write down beautiful passages as you read them, they can then be classified later on. Write well so that you will enjoy re-reading them.
Do not forget to note the author and the reference so that you can find the passage again later.

B Florilegium for one author: An even more interesting way of doing it. Make a collection of the best extracts from a favourite author.

First read the text to see what are the recurrent themes he uses which will help to give an outline of the plan of the book.

When you have discovered the ideas which he returns to frequently, then arrange them in a logical order, with headings and sub-headings.

Within this plan, copy out the extracts that appeal to you and which nourish your prayer. In this way you have a small book.

III. THE HOLD-ALL: Use the simple florilegium, but use the florilegium a bit also for each chapter. This is better than the simple florilegium as one can put in everything: not only extracts but also words and themes.
Here too it can be done very simply, in alphabetical order.
Even better, one can arrange one's findings by word or expression on separate pages (large to put in a file, or cards for a card-index), placing headings at the top right hand corner. The classification will then be according to these headings in alphabetical order.
For example, there might be: Acedia, Adam, Adam & Christ.... Love (with sub-divisions as it is a large subject: Love = know oneself loved - Love = gift of self - Love = desire to love etc...) Mother... and so on.
Here again, do not forget to add the author and reference.


A. For reference: Reading for reference, pen in hand. Make a note of interesting ideas and copies passages which will help your prayer.
Do not forget to leave a margin on the left to write in the page reference in case you want to come back to it.

B. Careful study: This is what we must aim for. It could be the study of a whole book, or a chapter or passage. Identify the author of the extract. Then make a preliminary reading to get an overall view. Try to find out how it is put together and the plan. (To find out how it is put together, notice where there is a change of ideas. What are these ideas? What are the transitions?).
Having found the plan, then summarize the principal ideas in a schematic way within it, or add passages which will help you to pray.
This is a good method for the Sermons of St Augustine and other Fathers; particularly when they are used on feast days.


A. Colours: One can underline the same or similar words with coloured crayons, this helps to identify key-words or changes of idea in a short text. Of course the text must be copied out, to avoid defacing the library book!

B. Tables: There are many interesting ways of doing this

1) According to ideas: Summarize a text with a plan.

2) For the psalms: The 'Last judgement' method: one puts whatever refers to God in the centre; what refers to good on the right and evil on the left. One may need more columns for places or people; it is for you to decide!

Obviously several methods can be combined and others invented. The point is to work at it and be nourished by one's reading.




boredom, restlessness, despondency, listlessness


withdrawal into solitude


freedom from anxiety


notion that since man is made in the image and likeness of God, the 'form' of God must be in some way the form of man.


participation in the passionlessness of God and so a foretaste of the 'angelic' life, the life of the resurrection, of inner and outer integration; impassibility; interior simplicity; purity of heart (Cassian); spiritual freedom; detachment, but not indifference.




discernment or discretion.


notion of the search for God and participation in the Divine life as unending 'stretching forward' (Phil 3:13) in self-transcendance into the Transcendant, who is ever beyond; eternal life is thus conceived as dynamic, ever-deepening union with God, not a static 'vision'.


thought, conception.


the knowledge of the enlightened mind, ofone who haslearnt to perceive the by means of diakrisis which is a participation in divine knowledge and so linked with contemplation.


is the spiritual centre of man's being as he is made in the image of God.

The deepest and truest self in which the mystery of the uinion between the divine and the human is consummated.


inner tranquillity, stillness, the silence of listening and entering into God's own silence.


homonoia, unanimity, concord, agreement.


the intelligence, that is: how the intellect works. Closely connected with the logos: the divine intellect. Signifies one who possesses spiritual knowedge.


passionate thoughts


inner essences or principles of things


the exercise of prayer; meditation; brief and constant prayers.


watchfulness, vigilance, guarding of the heart


intellect or mind; the highest faculty in man, through which, when it is purified, he knows God. Not the same as reason which is deductive understanding. It understands divine truth by means of inner experience or intuition. It dwells in the depths of the soul, is the innermost aspect of the heart - the 'eye of the heart' and means of contemplation.


compunction, sadness at not having loved enough.


practice of the virtues, asceticism to purify the soul of its passions or emotions

praxis = action


mind; the conceptual and logical faculty which draws conclusions from data given by the senses or by spiritual knowledge.


aim or objective


final goal or end


denotes far more than learning: active and conscious participation in the realities of the divine world; ie. a realization of spiritual knowledge; experiential knowledge of God through the highest form of prayer. Mysticism.


Contemplation; the perception of the intellect through which one attains spiritual knowledge

Theoria phusike

contemplation of the natural world


N.B. This is the glossary in the text, but it is not Br Luc's, I invented it !! Sr H. W.