Friday, August 07, 2009

Examining Examen

One of the Spiritual Disciplines I am exploring at the moment is the Prayer of Examen. The Prayer of Examen creates focus to reflect and recall your day with the goal of examining how you live life in the presence of the God. By slowing down and examining your day you have the chance to find God in places you perhaps missed and to ask questions of your self where God seemed absent. There are so many ways to approach this idea which was initiated by Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. I like the 2 phased approach though the examen of consciousness and the examen of conscience. Richard Foster says it like this:

In the examen of consciousness we prayerfully reflect on the thoughts, feelings, and actions of our days to see how God has been at work among us and how respond. We consider, for example, whether the boisterous neighbor of last night was more than just a rude interruption of a quiet evening. Maybe, just maybe, he was the voice of God urging us to be attentive to the pain and loneliness of those around us. Perhaps in the glorious sunrise of this morning God was shouting out to us in his love of beauty and inviting us to share in it, but we were too sleepy or distracted to

In the examen of conscience we are inviting the Lord to search our heaats to the depths. Far from being dreadful, this is a scrutiny of love. We boldly speak the words of the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24). Without apology and without defense we ask to see what is truly in us.

For me, it is most natural do do this through journalling - just works for me, but you can do it any way you like. There are various questions and so forth - you can find stuff all over the net that are developments of the principle. So you can find something that sits well with you as well as find some variety if you find that helpful!

A quick note if you do search the net for help. You'll quickly comes across those who will tell you that spiritual exercises like this will send you straight to the pits of hell. Like Apprising Ministries a member of the self-appointed Reformata, Always Reforming. Just ignore them. They can appear quite compelling at times such is their rabid confidence - if you dig deep enough the wild dog comes out:

" example of what men like Rob Bell want your kids to return to AM presents for your some of the instruction from the “handbook” used by this Spirital Gestapo unit of Ignatius while they “were at work revitaizing” the corrupt spirituality and dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, which led to the Reformation in the first place."


Flendolyn said...

This sort of stuff would be cool to pull together into a bit of a 'resource pack' for mentoring - might be worth seeing what Sara / Melissa think? I've got some cool stuff that came with my Formation paper - the one I withdrew from cause I don't have time for God anymore... hmmmmm...

BJ said...

It would be a great idea. Our Lent series next year will touch on a lot of this stuff: "Rhythm" is the working title.