An Examen looking to the heart
A reflection on the inner person
Gratitude is central to Ignatian spirituality. If we look within ourselves we will find much to be grateful to God for. Gratitude is the enemy of self, simply being grateful moves one out of self towards others and towards God:
What do I have to be grateful for today?
How much do I take for granted?
What makes me feel ungrateful, dissatisfied, frustrated? What helps me become more grateful and contented?
2 Prayer for light
Only God can help us know ourselves as we truly are. We need to have our eyes opened, we need light to see whether our gratitude is in proportion to the worth of so many gifts. ‘The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send will teach you everything' (John 14.26).
Gently pray for the light to learn about yourself, to see God at work.
3 Reflective questions
Reflective prayer is not introspection. It is being attentive to the presence of God, of love personified. It is asking how can we respond more fully to God's loving action:
How was I drawn to God, and the things of God, today: a friend, the smile of a loved one, a surprising event, the beauty of nature, the success of a friend?
Have I sensed the presence of God in fears, joys, work, misunderstanding, weariness, suffering, the pain or the happiness of others, in changes around or within me?
Have I been a sign of God's love and presence to others today?
Did I go out towards the lonely, the discouraged, the needy or difficult?
Have I a keener sense of being loved, of my weaknesses and my strengths, of desire to give back something of what I have received?
Is there yet part of my life untouched by God?
A true awareness of how far we have responded to God's loving presence can lead us to sorrow for the ways that we have failed to cooperate with that love at work within us.
Take time to express such sorrow: ‘Lord be merciful to me a sinner'
5 Hope for the Future
We have been gifted in the past and will be gifted in the future, all the experiences and events of the next few hours and days will be full of such gifts and full of their Giver.
How do I face the future? With fear, anger, uncertainty, distaste, despondency, despair or with longing, serene excitement, eagerness and keen expectation?
What do I want to focus on tomorrow which I missed today?
Adapted from George Ashenbrenner S.J. `Another Look at the Examen'