Volume 6 / Issue 1 SPRING 2020

S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 6 - 1 S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 4 9 Radovan Šoltés dition recommends practicing Lectio Divina in the morning. As we have already mentioned, Saint Benedict recommended dedicating three hours a day to this reading. Nowadays, many modern Benedictines find it difficult to keep to this schedule given the other tasks and duties they have to perform. In general, there is a rule in the modern practice of lectio and that is to engage in the contemplative reading regularly, for at least half an hour and build a foundation to more pro - found immersion into the prayer (Stewart 1998, 39–40). Regular repetition of some activity plays a crucial role and affects physiological changes in the brain morphology [5]. It can be argued that the same occurs during Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina can thus be perceived as the means that help us understand who we really are and what kind of people we could become. Through this practice, we are able to deepen our understanding of the Self, our inner processes, life itself and situations in which we currently find ourselves. The hec - tic times of today bring a mass production of the information content and thus reduce reading to scanning, skimming and skipping. Lectio Divina is the opposite of this trend. It leads a practitioner into the deeper concentration and that is the lasting value that can sure be assigned to this ancient practice. The person of faith “does not read” to gain knowledge but to unite two minds (one’s own with that of God). When one feels this union, they stop to read and let the passage of the text speak to them. For this is the purpose of Lectio Divina, not the reading itself and this distinguishes it from learning (Vácha and Satoria 2013, 74). From the theological perspective, the practice of contemplative reading enlivens our desire for God and helps us replace our distorted images of God rooted in stereotypes and paradigms of the given social environment. Lectio Divina has the power to deepen the sense of being free from the pressures of the community that has the tendency to maintain the status quo when it should be moving forward. Through the practice of meditation and contemplative reading, many monks and other people throughout Christian history gained concentration that was manifested in their maturity. Meditation and contemplative reading help overcome heteronomous moral attitudes and lead to autonomous morality. That is why this form of prayer is still desirable and beneficial even today. 6 Conclusion We can conclude that meditation and Lectio Divina have a positive effect in the believer’s life not only on the spiritual level. These practices affect the person’s biological nature that is linked to the processes in the brain itself. Surely, in terms of our spirituality, the biological and neurological changes are not as significant as what we truly experience from the vantage point of faith. Measurable effects of spiritual activity clearly confirm that something is happening in the brain on the level of cognitive functioning. Needless to say, these researches do not explain whether the subject of faith – the supernatural reality – is indeed real. What the findings of neuroscience research in terms of positive effects of reading and meditation do confirm, is that what our an - cestors discovered intuitively, just by observing their own life and experiences, were indeed great spiritual tools that help us improve focus and concentration, cope with difficult life situations and find answers to existential questions about the meaning of life. The research also shows that spiritual experience involves both physical and mental processes. In this context, the find - ings of neurosciences and neurotheology (confirming the positive effects of spiritual activity) are a great contribution to practice of Christian spirituality. We, of course, do not claim that these studies explain meditative or contemplative prayer in terms of its content. After all, this is not the aim of such research. Rather, they help to understand the spiritual activity (in our instance, what is happening during meditation or Lectio Divina) also from the naturalistic perspective that can contribute to a discussion about the relationship between human nature and spirituality. The spiritual practice of Lectio Divina can also be instrumental in coping with the challenges of our time. It is also a reminder that working with text and information using the “scanning method” only does not yield the desired effect.