Spiritual Rhythms Spotlight: Major Hollie Leonardi
Hollie Leonardi, along with her husband, are the corps officers of a busy bi-lingual corps. With the many demands in her public ministry, she knows the importance of a spiritual practice that keeps her focused and grounded in God’s Word.
My name is Hollie Leonardi. I have been serving with The Salvation Army for 23 years. I have my Bachelor of Science from Houghton College, where God woke me up from spiritual slumber and began a transformative work in my life. I am currently working on my Master’s from Asbury Theological Seminary, with a concentration in Preaching. I love that all of my classes have been grounded in Spiritual Formation, with interest in the student going beyond academics and beyond rhetoric.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE?
I practice many Spiritual Disciplines, but my favorite, by far, is Lectio Divina. We are so used to reading the Bible for information when intended to be read for transformation. Lectio Divina gives me the opportunity to go deeper in the word and to allow God to speak to me through the narrative.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE IT?
I didn’t choose it; it chose me.
I didn’t choose it; it chose me. God knows I tend to read Scripture to glean information that I can teach. He said, “Wait a minute; I don’t want you reading my word just so you can pull out points for a sermon. I want to spend intimate time with you.”
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I found out about Lectio Divina from Ruth Haley Barton. I think I’ve read everything she’s ever written! She goes into Lectio Divina in most of her books, including Sacred Rhythms.
HOW DO YOU PRESENTLY PRACTICE THIS DISCIPLINE?
I set aside time and put it in my agenda. I find a quiet spot.
I set aside time and put it in my agenda. I find a quiet spot. I begin by praying and asking God to speak to me, and I relinquish my control of my time with Him. I select a few verses from a passage of Scripture. I read it several times. The first time, I am simply reading to familiarize myself with the verse. The second time, I read it again, seeking what word or phrase jumps out at me. Then, I meditate on that word or phrase. Why did it choose me? Why does it resonate with my life and my current experiences? I pray and write down any impressions or emotions I’m feeling. I ask God to help me connect the dots. Then, I spend some time in prayer, meditating on how it is relevant in my life. Finally, I pray, thanking Him for revealing whatever it is that He shared with me.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PERSONAL BENEFIT TO THIS PRACTICE?
I always walk away from Lectio Divina, feeling refreshed and amazed. I’m amazed how God always wants to personalize Scripture so that I experience it as His living and active love letter to me. Lectio Divina is a beautiful way to connect with God.
ANY RESOURCES OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU FIND HELPFUL:
- Sacred Rhythms, Ruth Haley Barton
- Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton
- Celebration of Disciplines, Richard Foster
- Sensible Shoes, Sharon Garlough Brown (this is a fictional novel that incorporates the spiritual disciplines and is a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with them).
Abiding Way Ministries, offering retreats, Spiritual Direction, and Resources)