Monday, 3 June 2013

Reflections from St Beuno's: The Examen

The founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) is St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556).  The Examen is a popular way of praying which was developed by St. Ignatius. He suggested that his brothers undertook a daily way of praying by examining their lives so they could better serve God.

Making time for prayer allows you to fully feel God’s presence in your life and enter into a deeper more intimate conversation with Jesus. The Examen takes about 15 minutes to complete, but just take 5 minutes if that is all you have. It enables us to open our heart more fully to the will of God in our lives and recognise God’s presence in everything, as we go about our daily tasks.

Recall you are in the presence of God
I am always in the presence of God but in prayer I place myself  in God’s presence. Invite the Holy Spirit to help me look at my life with love this day.

Thank God specifically for his gifts to me this day. For example…..
What has happened to me today that I can be thankful for?
Have I taken anything for granted?
Am I becoming more grateful?
Has anything made me feel ungrateful or dissatisfied?

Ask for Light
This a time to pray for enlightenment from God instead of simply my own analysis of the day.  So, ask the Holy Spirit to show me what he wants me to see; to help me look at my actions clearly with an understanding of my limitations.

Do not judge what comes to me. This is a gentle look with the Lord at how I have responded to God’s gifts.

This prayer opens me to begin to see God’s action in my life rather than just my own actions.

Finding God In All Things – Reviewing the Day
This is the longest of the steps in which I review your whole day
Notice the details and the context in which it happened.
Think about how I acted, my motives and my feelings.

Some of the following questions may help. It may be that only one or two are relevant each day and that’s ok. But write it down so that what God did or said, isn’t lost in time, but treasured and held on to. It will be a real source of encouragement and faith.

Did I feel drawn to the Lord any time today through ….. a companion…. an event…. a book ….. nature etc?

What have I learned today about the ways of God…. in ordinary occasions…. in extraordinary moments…. in stray moments?

How did I meet God in…. fears…. Joys…. Work….in misunderstanding…. in suffering?

How did God’s word come alive to me today…. In prayer time….. scripture…. in services….. preaching….. or other readings?

In what ways have I encountered God in members of my family or community? Have I brought Christ to them?

In what ways have I been a sign of God’s presence and love…. to my friends…. to the people I work with….. to the people that I have met today?

Have I felt moved to go beyond myself in concern for the….. the lonely….. the sad….. the needy….. the discouraged?

How am I becoming more conscious of God’s work ….. in the wider Church….. the my world….. in other countries? How does this affect me?

Have I experienced a growing experience ….. of being loved….. of my sinfulness….. of a desire to return love…. Of my dependence?

Is there any are of my being and life in which Jesus is not yet Lord?

Forgiveness – Reconcile and Resolve
Spend some time receiving forgiveness from the Lord for the moments in which I did not respond to his love, but remember to also praise the Lord for times when I was cooperating with him.

Hope For The Future
Am I despondent, fearful or anxious? If so why?
(Be honest and don’t hide your true feelings.)
Ask God to give me a new hope and sensitivity to recognise the ways in which he calls me in every situation.

I forget the past and reach out to whatever lies ahead,
racing for the finish for the prize to which God
has called us in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3.13-15


Take and imaginary walk with Jesus.
Sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed and take a few deep breaths.
Invite the Holy Spirit to be with you and then begin…..

It is night time after a busy day.
You are tired, Jesus is tired.

You are somewhere out of doors.
It is one of your favourite places and Jesus knows it well.

The weather is fine, not cold. It is a balmy night.
No one else is around but you can see the lights of some houses - your own home included -  not far away.

You walk up a small hill, find a dry spot and sit down.

For a while you sit in silence, looking at the stars.

What do you want to say to Jesus?

What does Jesus want to say to you?

When you are both ready, get up and walk in companionable silence back to your home.

What are your “good night” words to Jesus?

And His to you?

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