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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Examen

One of the daily challenges I face in spiritual life is how to discover God and His activity in my everyday routines and experiences. Most of my days are common and ordinary, and yet I expect God's activity to be something spectacular and well, beyond ordinary. I ran across something recently, however, that is a helpful tool to discover God in the ordinary.

While the name may sound intimidating, the practice is really quite easy. Several hundred years ago, a group of monks began practicing a daily ritual they called "The Examen." In this exercise, two simple questions are asked and reflected upon. First, for what have I been most grateful over the last 24 hours? Where did I experience the most life? And second, for what I am least grateful? What diminished life over the last 24 hours? As a person reflects on these events, the goal is to bring them before God and allow Him to direct, lead, and speak into these situations.

I would encourage you to try it! I have been discovering that even though my days have been "typical", I can still readily identify these two areas of life-giving and life-draining. In both, I can see the hand of God at work. For the first I am thankful, and for the second, I find reasons to really pray.

May God speak words of life into you as you attempt the Examen.

Continue your journey with hope.


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