Tuesday, December 27, 2005

St. Ignatius on the Consciousness Examen

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is a book not to be read but to be savored. It actually logs the the spiritual journey of St. |Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Throughout the centuries, this book has been used by many retreat directors as they accompany their retreatants through their individual spiritual journeys.

In this book, St. Ignatius outlines the Consciousness Examen which he suggests that the retreatant do everyday during his long retreat. This method of prayer though has been adopted by many religious and lay people as their daily prayer. It is suggested that the examen, as it is commonly called, be done twice - one during noon and the other before retiring for the day. The prayer is helpful to one who wishes to discern how God moves in the daily routine of his life and to pray over God's invitation to him everyday.

Below is a quotation from The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius on the Consciousness Examen:

. It contains in it five Points.

First Point. The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.

Second Point. The second, to ask grace to know our sins and cast them out.

Third Point. The third, to ask account of our soul from the hour that we rose up to the present Examen, hour by hour, or period by period: and first as to thoughts, and then as to words, and then as to acts, in the same order as was mentioned in the Particular Examen.

Fourth Point. The fourth, to ask pardon of God our Lord for the faults.

Fifth Point. The fifth, to purpose amendment with His grace.

Our Father.

from http://spiritualorientations.com/first.html

Examen of Consciousness

The Examen of Consciousness is a 15-minute prayer that Jesuits
and other religious men and women pray twice a day -
once during noontime and once before bedtime.
This prayer is very helpful in bringing to one's consciousness
the movements of God in his daily life.
The prayer consists of five movements:
Counting One's Blessings
Reflecting on a Tension Experienced
Reflecting on God's Message in the Events of One's Life
Reflecting on God's Invitation
Begging for the Grace One Needs

(Disposing One's Self for Prayer)
Quiet yourself by breathing deeply.
"There are two things you should know:
First, what you are;
Second, that you are not what you are by your own power.

"Then, you will boast, but not in vain.....
So we should greatly fear that ignorance
which makes us think less of ourselves
than we should..."
(Bernard of Clairvaux)

Jesus Christ, Savior,
I pray for the grace of awareness and insight
as I ponder this day.
Living in your call to ongoing conversion, help me to see as You see!
Open my eyes to recognize you,
to see how you and your goodness and kindness
were present in the persons and events of this day.
I pray this, invoking the presence and the power of your Spirit. Amen.

(first movement)
How did I experience the goodness and kindness of Jesus this day?
How was I the goodness and kindness of Jesus to someone this day?
Praise and thank God for these moments.

(second movement)
What is the tension or dis-ease in my life today?
God, this is what happened.....
Give me the grace of insight to understand what really took place.

(third movement)
What new awareness is waking up in me?
How are you speaking to me in my heart, Lord?
Thank you, Lord, for these- they are gifts that can bring
me closer to you....

(fourth movement)
What events in this day touched me?
What response is God calling me to through
these events?

(fifth movement)
What grace do I need right now to respond to you, God,
more deeply and faithfully?


I thank you, Loving God, for the gifts of this day,
and the gifts of this prayer time.
(Conclude with your own prayer of gratitude.)

from www.sdssisters.org

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Sinner Yet Called

One of the biggest blocks to one's vocation is one's misplaced feeling of sinfulness. We all are sinful. This is one fact that we must learn to accept. And whenever, the Lord asks us to face and embrace our sinfulness, it comes with a reminder that we are tremendously and extravagantly loved by a God who does not tire to invite us into a loving and intimate relationship with him.

The sign above is a good reminder for us who feel that they are being called to the religious life. No one is too bad to come in and entertain the idea of being a religious. No matter how sinful you are or have been, the Lord calls each one and takes him for who he is. Remember, God does not love us because we are good; instead, we are good because God loves us.

Some may shut themselves from the idea of religious life because they feel that there is much more in life that they can achieve than just simply being locked in a seminary to pray and do acts of mercy. Even if you are a professional - a doctor, lawyer, engineer, businessman, or an artist - God will still find use for all these talents even if you join the religious life. Religious life does not mean that you shed off everything that is secular or worldly in you so that you can embrace things that are holy. Remember, God calls the entire of who you are and does not choose only the good part. This is why we have lawyers, doctors, engineers, musicians, accountants, and a lot more in the Society of Jesus.

As you discern whether you are being called to the religious life of not, just remember that no one is too bad to consider it and neither is anyone too good to ignore it.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Peaceable Kingdom

by Henri Nouwen

All of creation belongs together in the arms of its Creator.
The final vision is that not only will all men and women
recognise that they are brothers and sisters called to live
in unity but all members of God's creation will come
together in complete harmony. Jesus the Christ came to
realise that vision. Long before he was born, the prophet
Isaiah saw it:

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the panther lie down with the kid,
calf, lion and fat-stock beast together,
with a little boy to lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze,
their young will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like the ox.
The infant will play over the den of the adder;
the baby will put his hand into the viper's lair.
No hurt, no harm will be done
on all my holy mountain,
for the country will be full of knowledge of Yahweh
as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:6-9)

We must keep this vision alive.

from www.henrinouwen.org

Whose Advent?

Whose Advent?
Charles Moore

Though Advent (literally "arrival") has been observed for centuries as a time to contemplate Christ's birth, most people today acknowledge it only with a blank look. For the vast majority of us, December flies by in a flurry of activities, and what is called "the holiday season" turns out to be the most stressful time of the year.

It is also a time of contrasting emotions. We are eager, yet frazzled; sentimental, yet indifferent. One minute we glow at the thought of getting together with our family and friends; the next we feel utterly lonely. Our hope is mingled with dread, our anticipation with despair. We sense the deeper meanings of the season but grasp at them in vain; and in the end, all the bustle leaves us frustrated and drained.

from Your Daily Dig of bruderhof.com