A new book was launched in Rome today to encourage Catholics to prayerfully read the Bible, Vatican Radio reported.

Published jointly by the American Bible Society and the Vatican Publishing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana), “Pray With the Bible, Meditate With the Word” uses the ancient monastic practice of Lectio Divina to help readers draw spiritual help from Scripture.

“In the third century monks developed a prayerful practice called Lectio Divina, the reading of God: That meant to read the Bible in a prayerful form,” explained Mario Paredes, the Presidential Liaison of Catholic Ministries for the American Bible Society. “As the centuries went by, prayer…became very rational and very intellectual, and so the act of praying with the World of God became really obsolete until very modern times. After Vatican II, the Church clearly indicated that a Catholic person should be engaged with the Word of God.”

He told Vatican Radio that the American Bible Society has conducted research showing more and more people in the United States are becoming unfamiliar with the Bible.

“The best way to engage Catholics [with Scripture] is really to discover Lectio Divina,” he said.