About the Prayer

The format used in these podcasts is one that was introduced to me in a Jesuit setting as The Collatio.

Collatio means collecting, union, combination. It can refer to a collection of words, because we listen to the text in small phrases, or it can refer to a collection of people praying and listening together.

This type of prayer is greatly enriched by sharing together in a group and hearing, with each reading, which word has been significant for the others, and what it has meant for them.

It would be wonderful if you want to share with our on-line community the word or phrase that has been significant for you, and why, by posting it in the comments box under the blog post. There is no right or wrong answer!

If you’d like to try praying the collatio with a group, you may find this guide helpful.

Is this the same as Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina, (Latin for divine reading), is an ancient method for prayerfully engaging with Scripture. With roots in early monasticism it was formalized by St Benedict in the 6th century when he prescribed it as part of the monastic rhythm. At Vatican II it was recommended that Lectio Divina be practiced by all lay people.

Formally, there are four stages of Lectio Divina:

  • Read the text slowly, a number of times
  • Meditate, not to analyze theologically but to ponder, to sit with it, to experience it, to wait in it for the Holy Spirit
  • Pray, speak directly to God about what is on your mind and heart
  • Contemplate, silently resting in the presence of God.

(The Wikipedia article on Lectio Divina gives a fuller picture and an impressive book list in the notes as well.)

The Collatio prayer used in Contemplative at Home podcasts is similar to Lectio Divina, as it contains elements of each of these four stages, but doesn’t move through them systematically.  The Collatio makes a bit more room for imagining the scene as you listen to the text and focussing on the one word or phrase and its particular meaning for you.

I wish to thank and acknowledge Fr Finbarr Lynch SJ of Manresa House, Dublin who introduced and instructed me in the Collatio, from which all that I share with you in this podcast is derived. The Deepening Faith and Prayer course which he led with Alacoque O’Reilly in 2007-2008 was of profound and lasting impact on my heart and spirituality and I owe a debt of great gratitude to them both for their gifts of faith, wisdom, depth and leadership.