Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Examen

Photo courtesy Max Pixel

It's hard to believe we're at the middle of 2018. Time flies when you're having fun. Or even if you're not! So here we are in the middle of this year, looking back on what has already been accomplished., looking forward to what remains. It's a time to pause. I've written about this pause in the middle of the year before, linking it to the breath and the pause between inhale and exhale. It's a time to reflect before we turn the corner and move on toward lies ahead.

Perhaps you might center your reflections around your one little word for the year or simply examine what has occurred from January to July.

A few years ago, I was introduced to the Ignatian practice of the examen. Here's a simple guide to the daily examen. It includes gratitude, petition, review, forgiveness, and renewal.

In his book, The Practice of Prayer, Robert Warren takes the pattern and expands it "to help us stop and be aware of life and what is happening to us," in order to make a "freely chosen response" to life.

Let's take the last six months as our period of time under review. Warren breaks this review down into three categories.

How have you been aware of God's presence in the last six months? Does any experience stand out? Maybe something you read or someone said. Note anything that comes to mind and give thanks for what is good in your experience.

How have your experienced change in yourself? How have you changed your attitude toward God, yourself, or others? What are the positive growth changes? Are there any signs of negative or stuck responses?  Thank God for his presence with you in your joys and struggles.

Can you identify any sense of going/stepping out in faith during this time? Give thanks and reaffirm your commitment to continue. Have you sensed God's call to go, but not yet gone? Hold that before God and let him reaffirm your confidence in his ability to help.

Warren closes with this note: "Remember, this is not to be an inquisition in which you criticize yourself for how you have failed, but a trusting review before the One who is for you. The purpose is to listen more fully to the One who is Love."

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