The Prayer of Examen is a beautiful Ignatian practice that invites us to look for the movement of God in our every day lives.
As devotees of Christ, we believe that the Spirit of God is living and active and that God is in fact not dead, but moving and being in the world, in everything - all of the time.
The Prayer of Examen, through a few simple prompts helps us to begin to practice the contemplative exercise of noticing. We all have spiritual dry spells in our lives, but through the practice of the Prayer of Examen, I have come to see the subtle movements of God, and how as Sally Lloyd Jones would say, How "Everything whispers God's name".
It is the practice of 'prayer filled mindfulness'. The Examen can be done daily, weekly or monthly. Whenever it is done, it works best if it is rhythmic, and you can return often.
Light a candle, some incense, close your eyes, and notice the breath of the Spirit breathing in you and through you. Begin to ask yourself the above Examen questions.
I invite you this week to take part in this practice today, to notice the active, living movement of God.
A Blessing as you enter the Examen:
"A Blessing for One who is exhausted" by John O'Donohue
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.