Monday, February 13, 2012

Examen Time!

Yeah Snow Day!!

OK got that out of the way and now I want to share some Ignatius of Loyola wisdom with you. I want to talk about noticing loving presence, God's loving presence to be more pointed. How often do you notice His loving presence? On Sunday's? During your daily quite time? When you take a walk or spend time in nature? Ever? Sadly, I think for most of us the answer is seldom. We think this same God that created everything somehow turned the switch off after creation and isn't involved in our daily lives. God is trying to pour into us everyday, we've just gotten too consumed with self to see it. The thing is, we respond to His pouring out, even when we don't know it.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, who was the sixteenth-century founder of the Jesuit order (and happens to be the 30 week class I'm into right now that's kicking my butt), knew about taking time everyday to see how God has been present to us and how we have responded. He called this prayer the "examination of consciousness" or what we call the examen for short. The examen leads to a healing awareness of God's presence as a constant background of our life.

There are three simple steps to the examen. Here is the way Dr. David Benner interpret them. They are very easy to follow and his words make more sense to me than sixteenth century words.

1. After settling into a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed, (not with the TV or any other racket going on) begin by affirming that wherever you are, you are in the presence of God. Gather yourself together in stillness before God, allowing yourself to become aware of the God who is present within you, in the people God has placed in your life and in the world. Express to God your desire for grace of seeing yourself, others and the world through God's eye's.

2. Now allow your attention to roam over your present day, letting the fragments of your day flow across your consciousness as memories. There is no need to try to organize or control these memories, or to attempt to be comprehensive in your review of the day. Simply trust that the Spirit will bring to mind the significant events to which you should attend. As this happens, notice the blessings of the day and give thanks to God for them. But also pay attention to the internal movements of your heart and your response to the people and experiences that were part of your day. Notice those times when you failed to see the face of Christ in someone you encountered, or you responded out of fear or personal interest rather than love. This is not the time to dwell on your shortcomings and berate yourself. Simply express sorrow for those moments in the day when you failed to be aware of God's love and allow it to flow freely through you. Ask for forgiveness for the times you resisted light and chose darkness, and thank God for the times grace allowed you to be swept along by the flow of God's love.

3. Close by asking again for the grace to be open, attentive and responsive to God's loving presence, thanking God once again for this most precious gift. You might then finish your time with the Lord's Prayer (the "Our Father").

I do this every evening before bed and it takes about 5 to 10 minutes. I haven't gotten it down pat yet and believe it comes with making time for it. 

We are always so quick to ask God for our list of things and sometimes even to remember to thank him when answers come. But how often do we make time to see Him in our daily life? To sense his presence in the wind or the laughter of a friend?

Won't you make time for the creator of the universe today?



Robin said...

God IS the "connector of the dots" :)
My word for this year is quiet.
To be purposeful in my pauses and "gathering myself in stillness" before Him.
Thanks for popping over and have a great week :)

Preacher man said...

right on!