Item description for Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina by Thelma Hall...
Overview Retrieves from obscurity the lost art of contemplative prayer as practiced for sixteen centuries in monastic tradition, and provides 500 thematically arranged scripture texts as rich resources for this intimate prayer.
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Studio: Paulist Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.98" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.34" Weight: 0.35 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2004
Publisher Paulist Press
ISBN 0809129590 ISBN13 9780809129591
Reviews - What do customers think about Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina?
An intimate book with prayer and lectio divina as goal... Jun 20, 2005
For some time now I have owned the title, "Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina" by Thelma Hall. I have used it for prayer, and I have used it for lectio. The hallmark use I have put the book to is its selections of scripture readings for prayer. This is not to say that the purpose of the book, lectio divina and its prayer form, its reading form of the scriptures is to be ignored. No, the author's writings regarding this method of intimacy with scriptures is worth the time to read.
A comfortable book, and by that I mean it is an inviting read, one can enter into the monastic method of prayer. Here, in the introduction, the author calls lectio an entry way to contemplation. It is "...generally accepted that contemplation was an extrordinary grace..." but here the intent is to open lectio and also contemplation to Christians as part of their spiritual life.
If I may interpret a little bit, the writer says that with this people can enter more loving relationships with others, and with God. A means to accomplishing this is through lectio divina. She says, "...we grow in love of God as we grow in any intimate love relationship..." A prerequisite is to trust God and know he is faithful to us. The practice of lectio divina is fourfold, and I have learned this method a number of times from others and Thelma Hall is right on the money as I know it. In fact, one may rely on her for this kind of prayer and relationship in prayer with God. The book has an integrity to it.
Though not specifically a how-to book, this is a mini-retreat and not so long of one in text form. The text part, not counting the scripture readings, is only 55 pages. Most people will find their way through that and find it fruitful.
The four parts to lectio: Read the word of God; reflect on the word; where the word touches the heart, or meditation on the word; and, contemplating the word of God. Through this we may come through the night to a new dawn. Or as I read it, we may leave behind some of our darker side and come to a lighter side of inspiration with scripture, and illuminated so gain a special relationship with God. This is reachable, to some degree, by most people who are so willing to be devotional.
To stretch the idea more, as an invitation, the writer says this is what to do:
"--To receive, and place no obstacle to the Holy Spirit. "--Follow attraction to interior silence and remain in loving attentiveness. "---Abandon all activity and let oneself be drawn into the darkness of God's love, forgetful of self. "--When it becomes possible to meditate again, do so, until and unless interior silence becomes habitual."
The book is a traditional teaching, and Thelma Hall, a retreat leader is a religious (member of the Religious of Cenacle) in Bedford Village, New York. A book recommended to me by monks of New Camaldoli in Big Sur, the book is recommended by others interested in similar spirituality. The publisher is Paulist Press, a Catholic Church publishing house. I think anyone interested in expanding their horizons of prayer life and entering more fully into scripture will find this an interesting and worthwhile book that leads to a more fruitful life of the spirit.
An adequate introductory volume Jan 2, 2004
Lectio divina has a long history as a methodless method of study and prayer in the Christian tradition. It has enjoyed a recent revival among laity as they seek Scripture study and prayer for laity (as opposed to within religious orders). Thelma Hall provides an introduction that fits within the revival with several references to Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating, themselves each important in the contemplative tradition.
The strengths of this book include Hall's excellent selection of quotations to promote her views, her emphasis on a loving relationship as the model which prohibits a method, and her selection of potential texts for the initial practice of lectio divina.
The primary weaknesses as an introductory text is that it presumes the contemplative step is a "mystical" experience. This leads to discussions of the false-self / true-self dichotomy and of "dark night of the soul." This places the volume with the same audience as Merton, Keating, Pennington etc.. This is an audience with less need for an introductory volume than the "typical Catholic."
St. John of the Cross's paraphrase of Lk 11:9 is an accurate description of lectio divina "Seek in READING / and you will find in MEDITATION; / knock in PRAYER / and it will be opened to you / in CONTEMPLATION." However, the description of Dom Marmion reflects more accurately Hall's approach: "We read (Lectio)/ under the eye of God (Meditatio)/ until the heart is touched (Oratio)/ and leaps to flame (Contemplatio).
In this context, Hall provides 500 Scripture texts that are suitable for the initial practice of lectio divina. The readings are divided into 50 topics such as "Accepting Love," "Anxiety," "Discernment of Spirits," "Following the Lord," etc. She provides a citation for the full passage and a key phrase "summary" to allow the selection of a particular passage. This allows the novice to select quickly topics and passages that will be fruitful.
In short, this is one of several introductory volumes for lectio divina. If you flourish reading Merton and practicing Centering Prayer, this is an excellent choice.
Too deep for Words -- yet simply explained Apr 11, 2003
I highly recommend this book. I have recently become interested in contemplative prayer, and as usual I purchased several books on the topic. This is the only book I found that bridges the gap between the depth of the topic, and the distractions of contemporary life. I have trouble quieting my mind, so I needed help in that area. Thelma Hall proposes a four step process, in which you -READ a Bible passage -MEDITATE, or think about what it means -PRAY about it, -and then finally enter into CONTEMPLATION.
Somehow, this progression works. Try it. The book is very short. In fact, most of it is actually a collection of scriptures that have been arranged thematically for your convenience in finding a scripture to start reading.
BEAUTIFUL BOOK Jan 9, 2002
I AM AN INCAPABLE OF WRITING A REVIEW THAT WOULD CAPTURE THE NATURE OF THIS WORK. THE BEST COMPLIMENT I CAN GIVE IS THAT I WILL RE READ IT OFTEN AND I HAVE GIVEN A COPY OF IT TO FRIEND. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN EXPANDING YOUR PRAYER LIFE THIS BOOK IS AN EXCELLENT AND READABLE RESOURCE FOR ANY CHRISTIAN, REGARDLESS OF DENOMINATIONAL BACKROUND.
A perfect book for prayer Feb 28, 1999
I have used "Too Deep For Words" for over a decade. It is a concise and well-written introduction to one of the most ancient forms of Christian prayer - and one of the most simple.
In Hall's book, she clearly lays out the theory and methodology of the prayer. In the second part, she lists by theme various scripture quotes and references for use in prayer.
In an age of workshops, conferences, and the like, this book is a refreshing and accessible means for people to grow in their spiritual lives.