Pathway to Our Hearts: A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina With the Sermon on the Mount

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Article Reviews
Pathway to Our Hearts: A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina With the Sermon on the Mount by Archbishop Thomas Collins (Ave Maria Press, 2011)

"Lectio divina is a prayerful encounter with the word of God," Archbishop Thomas Collins states. "By the 'word of God,' I do not mean simply the text of the Bible; I also mean Christ our Lord."

Pathway to our Hearts: A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina with the Sermon on the Mount grew out of Collins' experience of lectio divina sessions he held at the Cathedral in Edmonton, Canada. He emphasizes that lectio divina is not the study of scripture, although such study can be good preparation for it. Rather, lectio divina is an "intimate encounter with the Lord God through the medium of his inspired word in the context of prayer."  

Each chapter in Pathway to our Hearts is designed as a full lectio divina session, focusing on a section of the Sermon on the Mount. Collins begins each session with the simple prayer, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening," and then an initial reading of the scripture passage. He then goes on to offer his reflections on the individual verses. These reflections are truly powerful and insightful. Collins invites reader to contemplate the deep meaning of these passages which have become heard so often they are sometimes glossed over.

The Sermon on the Mount offers a blueprint for Christian living. It is the heart and soul of Jesus' teaching. Collins delves into what it means to be pure of heart and to root out the evil desires that live within each of us.

He offers a discussion of The Lord's Prayer and what it means to truly pray. He talks about the role of anxiety and judgment in our lives and what we should do about them.

He encourages us to ask for God's help every day, to remember that "God is God and I am not . . . we acknowledge our reliance on God and on his power to save us." Lastly, we must always choose life. It is the narrow road; it is hard; but it is the choice Christians must make every day.

The value of "Pathway to our Hearts" far exceeds its stated purpose. It is much more than a primer on lectio divina; it is an instruction manual for the Christian life.