A SIMPLE EXAMEN FOR THE PANDEMIC
Isaiah 35 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Will life be the same
as before this pandemic?
Presently it feels a bit like a desert,
at least for those of us of a more-outgoing nature who thrive on people, and in my case, an audience.
For those of a quieter disposition it could be a God-send, but for many others, it’s isolation in the worst sense, a time when the alone could feel lonelier.
The blessing for many of us at the moment is the gift of time,
but the space we have in which to enjoy this new liberation is limited.
Without wanting to sound over-pious, I have re-discovered the beauty of prayer, and always had a sneaking suspicion that for me, the best way to pray is along the lines suggested by St.Ignatius of Loyola.
Here’s a “road map” that St Ignatius left for us, a route each day to help us find our way to God via our emotions, feelings and perceptions presented in everyday living.
It’s called the “Examen” – literally “weighing-out”, trying to create a balanced way as we journey through the day. The following is offered as a simple approach to a tried-and-tested method that Catholic and other Christians have found useful. This has been prepared by Mark E. Thibodeaux, of the Society of Jesus.
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit.
The day may seem confusing to you—
a blur, a jumble, a muddle.
Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights.
Focus on the day’s gifts.
Look at the work you did, the people with whom you interacted.
What did you receive from these people? What did you give them?
Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw,
and other seemingly small pleasures.
God is in the detail.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was
that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day.
Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence?
What is God saying through these feelings?
God will most likely show you some ways that you fell short.
Make a note of them.
But look deeply for other implications. Does a feeling of frustration perhaps mean
that God wants you consider a new direction in some area of your work?
Are you concerned about a friend?
Perhaps you should reach out to him or her in some way.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray about it. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace.
Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—
whether intercession, praise,
repentance, or gratitude.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges.
Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s ahead.
Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive?
Full of delighted anticipation?
Allow these feelings
to turn into prayer.
Seek God’s guidance.
Ask him for help
Pray for hope.
St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus as to a friend.
End the Daily Examen as a conversation with Jesus.
Ask for protection and help.
Ask for wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face.
Do all this in the spirit of gratitude.
Your life is a gift, and it is adorned with gifts from God. End the Daily Examen with the Our Father.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
You have given all to me.
To You, O Lord, I return it all.
All is yours;
dispose of it wholly
according to Your will.
Give me Your love and Your grace,
for this is enough for me.
For with these I am rich enough
and desire nothing more.
Saint Ignatius Loyola
THE REGINA COELI
Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven!
Alleluia! He whom thou wast meet to bear,
Alleluia! As he promised, hath arisen,
Alleluia! Pour for us to him thy prayer,
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!
O God, who through the resurrection
of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ
didst vouchsafe to give joy to the world: grant, we beseech thee,
that through His Mother, the
Virgin Mary, we may obtain the
joys of everlasting life. Through
Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God!