Chris left for Amsterdam yesterday so I came home to a very quiet house this afternoon. I was tired because a friend came over last night and we talked until after 1:00 this morning. I’m definitely a “morning person” but not by coming at it from that direction! My friend and I watched a gorgeous sunset and then proceeded to sit in the living room and gab for another four hours! Sometimes, this is just what the soul needs. Friendship is so uplifting.In the midst of the conversation, my friend mentioned “The Prayer of Examin.” I had never heard of it and was quite intrigued so she began to describe it to me. Below is a small section of an excellent article explaining the prayer.The Prayer of Examen is a daily spiritual exercise typically credited to St. Ignatius of Loyola [1491-1556], who encouraged fellow followers to engage in the practice for developing a deeper level of spiritual sensitivity and for recognizing and receiving the assistance of the Holy Spirit. At the heart of the practice is increasingly becoming aware of God’s presence and the Holy Spirit’s movement throughout your day.
This Prayer of Examen is primarily an exercise in remembering. One is invited, through four portions [presence, gratitude, review, and response], to concentrate on experiences and encounters from the past 24 hours. The beauty of the practice is its simplicity; it is more a guide than a prescription. If some portion feels especially important on a given day, feel the freedom to spend all or most of your time in that portion. The purpose is to increase awareness and sensitivity, not to finish or accomplish a task.
I had some alone time this afternoon so I decided to go through this process and I want to say that it was a beautiful experience for me. Each part of the exercise was very meaningful. It took some time but it was well worth it to think through the past twenty four hours and focus on the day from a spiritual perspective. I particularly enjoyed taking the necessary time to review – so often, we just keep on keeping on, don’t we? The acknowledgement and savoring of little connections, special opportunities, quiet pondering, funny comments and beautiful settings fly by and sometimes, are completely missed. Slowing down and thinking through the last twenty four hours of life was a really good thing to do.
I would encourage you to visit the site and read this article. This personal inventory takes as long as you want it to take but it most definitely will move you closer to the God who created you.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in me. St. Ignatius, Union with Jesus: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius