An Examen for the First Week in Easter

The Word

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”

—Mark 16:1-7

Reflect

The first sign of love is interest. Jesus’ friends wanted to know what happened to Him. They wanted to know for themselves, at first—for we do not love others if we do not love ourselves, and we cannot love ourselves if we are not interested in ourselves. Finding Jesus serves our deepest self-interest, as it did for the first disciples. Finding Him also brings to life, as nothing else can, our destiny to love one another as He loved us. And finally, truly finding Jesus brings us to spread this Good News by the way we live.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

I look at what I have done and not done.
Where have I found God?

4. Anything Wrong?

Have I ignored God? Have I neglected God’s gifts?
Where have I pleased others instead of pleasing God?
I express my contrition to God and repent of my sins.

5. What Now?

I look forward in hope.
What am I to do now? What do I have to avoid?

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,
You are the Victor over sin and death.
You already live and reign in Your kingdom,
surrounded by vast crowds of angels and archangels,
martyrs and saints.
Lord, we are still down here,
struggling, faltering, and failing.
Well, You have kept Your own wounds
and still know in Your own self
what it is to be wounded, as we all are.
Stay with us in our need,
glorious Lord with wounded hands and feet and side;
stay with us always.
Amen. Alleluia!

Source: From Ashes to Glory, Ignatianspirituality.com.  Joseph Tetlow SJ

An Examen for Holy Week

The Word

While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

—Mark 14:22-26

Reflect

When we receive the Body and Blood of the Redeemer with reverence, we enact a holy yearning. Our reverence and devotion do not make us worthy to have Him under our roof. Yet He comes. So our way of welcoming Him is to keep good order in what’s under the roof.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

I look at what I have done and not done.
Am I putting up with a bad habit?
Have I found God in the quiet?

4. Anything Wrong?

Have I ignored God? Have I neglected God’s gifts?
Where have I pleased others instead of pleasing God?
Before the crucifix, I express my contrition to God and repent of my sins.

5. What Now?

I look forward in hope.
What am I to do now? What do I have to avoid?

Prayer

That You would narrow down Your love,
Lord God of heaven and earth,
and find Your way into a billion souls
singly, to visit there and even stay,
amazes me and makes me wonder
whether my mind and heart
can stretch enough to grasp
that You are here, and to keep alive
to Your steady, unremitting love.
My heart is intermittent at best, Lord,
so I beg You to help me
keep loving You longer and longer,
until my whole mind and heart are filled
with You, even before You come.
Amen.

Source. “From Ashes to Glory”, Ignatianspirituality.com.  Joseph Tetlow, SJ

 

Examen for the Fifth Week of Lent

The Word

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.”

—John 12:26

Reflect

Even when we are trying to shake off a bad habit, the Examen should leave us content and even joyful. It will, if we remember that the good that we set ourselves to, we do for love—of Jesus Christ, of those He gives us, and of ourselves. This is “where” Jesus of Nazareth was, every day. This is where we find the honor given by the Father. We are called; we are Jesus’ servants for love.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

I look at what I have done and not done.
Am I putting up with a bad habit?
Have I found God in the quiet?

4. Anything Wrong?

Have I ignored God? Have I neglected God’s gifts?
Where have I pleased myself instead of pleasing God?
Where I have fallen short, I repent and offer thanks.

5. What Now?

I look forward in hope.
What am I to do now? What do I have to avoid?

Prayer

To be in love in my life world, Lord of Love,
means many warm and charming things
like close hugging and intimate talk.
It lasts as long as a day lily in sun.
To be in love in your reign, my Lord of Love,
means joy in winter as rich as in spring.
It cherishes the precious dignity of friends
and looks for a good spirit in strangers.
Let me love as You love, my Lord,
and make my every action radiate
compassion and contentment.
And may every word I say
echo the words that You have said.
Amen.

Examen for the Fourth Week in Lent

The Word

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

—Luke 18:9-14

Reflect

The Examen asks us to pinpoint our failings and turn to God. What God wants of us is not sacrifice and oblation, a big religious deal. God doesn’t want a heart satisfied with itself like the Pharisee’s, closed and tight; but one that cries out because of what it does wrong, open to God, like the tax collector’s. Looking holy rarely helps anyone know God. The presence of an honestly repentant sinner helps everyone know who God really is.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

I look at what I have done and not done.
Am I putting up with a bad habit?
Have I found God in the quiet?

4. Anything Wrong?

Have I ignored God? Have I neglected God’s gifts?
Where have I pleased others instead of pleasing God?
Where I have fallen short, I repent and offer thanks.

5. What Now?

I look forward in hope.
What am I to do now? What do I have to avoid?

Prayer

How You can love me, loving Father—
You who are the storehouse of all good—
how You can love me, a stack of flaws and failings,
I struggle to know.
Yet in all my days, You have run to hug me
every time I turn away from my selfishness.
Patient Father, I beg that my sin
be like dirt on my skin
to wash away with clean repentance.
Never let sin poison the marrow of my heart,
which I hold out to You in the bright hope
that You have loved it from the start and all along.
Amen.

Source: Joseph Tetlow, SJ, “From Ashes to Glory”, Ignatianspirituality.com

Examen for the Third Week in Lent

The Word

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

—Mark 12:28-31

Reflect

Honest self-examination will not go on long without love—love of God and of one’s self. And love flourishes only in truth, truth not about ourselves only, but about ourselves and others. Here’s a scary question: how interested am I in those persons God gives me? How much care do I show for them? Interest and care bind others to us and us to them, as God wishes. They are the runway to love.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

Had I good things to achieve, and did I get to them?
Am I deliberately breaking a law? Must I feel guilt at something done or left out?
Where do I see my spirit—trusting the Holy Spirit or anxiously focused on self?

4. Anything Wrong? I acknowledge boldly what I have done, repenting any failures.

I wonder whether I refuse to look directly at something I feel may be wrong.
I feel the sorrow of any wounded relationship.
I repent of any even partial infraction of a commandment.

5. What Now?

I look forward in hope.
What am I to do now? What do I have to avoid?

Prayer

I watch how You forgive, Lord Jesus,
asking the Father to forgive
and telling Him the reason to forgive:
“They do not know what they are doing.”
Was that as hard for You to say
as it has at times been hard for me?
I need Your compassion, Lord,
when I try to figure out
how they could have hurt me
so hard and callous,
a nail driven into my life.
O Lord, was it just as hard for You?
Amen.

Source: Joseph Tetlow, SJ, “From Ashes to Glory”.  Ignatianspirituality.com

Examen Prayer for the Second Week in Lent

The Word

“Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

—Matthew 20:26-28

Reflect

How do I serve? I absorb my culture’s values, and I recognize that I am too much focused on myself and my needs. I want to absorb the values of Christ, so I ask Christ to shed light on my efforts to serve. How do I connect with others? How do I serve their needs? How can I do better? I choose to follow Christ, but I know I cannot even start without the light of the Holy Spirit.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

I look back over the morning, the afternoon, and the evening.
Who talked with me or worked with me?
Did I get done what I meant to do or leave things out?
Have I followed my own path? Have I done what everyone does?

4. Anything Wrong?

Did something go bad?
Is my work incomplete?
I feel the sorrow of painful situations that I cannot change.

5. What Now?

I look forward in hope.
Where do I need God?

Prayer

You stood, Lord Jesus, your head bowed,
looking down at the ground
while they lied and dredged through thickets of falsehood.
Then when You said the truth one more time
they tore their garments, pulled their hair,
and yelled their throats raw cursing You.
Lord Jesus, defend me from my own lies.
I know with all my heart that you are Christ.
I know that you suffered for my sins.
I wish I could break my heart with sorrow over this.
If I do not know how, visit me and show me.
Lord of Compassion, share your passion with me.
I am afraid to ask, but still I say it.
Amen.

Source: Joseph Tetlow, SJ, “From Ashes to Glory”.  Ignatianspirituality.com

“What is God trying to say to us in our busy lives? Be patient! Learn to wait—for each other, for love, for happiness, for God!”**

**Title quote from Carlo Corretto, Letters from the Desert

A Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent by Sr. Donna Fannon, MHSH

Two-Purple-CandlesCertainly the thoughts of Carlo Corretto are underscored in the readings for this Second Sunday of Advent. Isaiah foretells of a time when the Lord will visit the Israelites and gather them in his arms like a shepherd gathers sheep so they may be comforted. St. Peter extols his readers to be patient for the return of Jesus Christ and to live today in hope and faith as we long for an intimate experience of God’s nearness and love. Finally we hear John the Baptist’s plea to prepare the way of the Lord in the desert—a time to clear away all that distracts us from realizing our utter dependence on God as well as God’s unconditional love for each of us.

What are we to make of all this waiting? In all of these readings there is an underlying sense of hope that God is somehow present to us in a real yet hidden way and also there is an awareness of a longing for a more immediate and personal experience of God’s care and love for each of us from moment to moment as we go about the art of living from day to day.

How do we live in the in-between time? How are we to be present to the not yet while we wait for a clearer and more intimate experience of God-with-us? The spiritual tradition offers some helpful practices that can help us remember our fundamental relationship with God that is grounded in our utter dependence on God’s generosity, beginning with every breath we take to every grace we receive day by day.

Advent is a good time in the year to call to mind and heart the goodness of God in our past life by remembering, appreciating and expressing gratitude for the many blessings we have received throughout our life. This practice is often called Remembering our Blessed History.

 Another helpful practice is to take some time each evening to review our quality of attention to the day that is just ending in order to become ever more aware of God’s presence moment by moment. In our prayer time we can ask God to reveal to us those moments when we were responsive to God’s invitation to act in a spirit of charity and compassion, and also to reveal to us those moments when we neglected to respond to (or did not even notice) that invitation. This practice is called an Examen of Consciousness. Over time the practice of an Examen can help us live more fully in the present, allowing God to heal our past and calling us to live in the now.

And finally, we can ask God to deepen our faith that God is present and active right now, loving us as we are, and calling us to greater generosity as we are led into a future that God intends for us.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves.
Don’t search for answers, which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answers
.
–Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet