In his book, Journey with Jesus, Larry Warner writes about the Prayer of Examen. In the Ignatian Exercises, and as Ignatius originally developed it, it is called “The General Examination of Conscience.” Here is how Larry describes it: "1. Give thanks to God for what you have received. This causes you to focus on God and God’s goodness and grace, and on the greatness of God. 2. Ask God to reveal your sins to you. This may seem moralistic and externally driven, but that is not the case. According to Ignatius’s rules for discernment, the focus is not on the external sin but on the roots from which that weed sprouted. It also affirms that you cannot do this alone but only as God gives insight and illumination. 3. Examine how you have lived this day, looking at your thoughts, words and deeds…This step helps you discover how you might have missed God today so that tomorrow you will have a better chance of connecting with God and with what God is up to. 4. Ask forgiveness, expressing sorrow for your sins while recalling to mind God’s love and grace. This provides the opportunity to soak in God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. 5. Ask God for the grace to amend your ways and more fully live out a sense of connection with God. In this step you are once again affirming your need for God and dependence on God. You begin to internalize that it is not up to you and your effort… When the General Examination of Conscience is regularly practiced, it generates an internal spiritual sensitivity to the movements and invitations of God, while fostering a greater awareness of God’s love, grace and forgiveness…The key is being totally open and honest with God and yourself.” The concepts of sin and repentance can be so fraught. We can have deep emotional responses to them, because of our past experiences and understanding (or misunderstanding). How does this wording and format of the Prayer of Examen land with you (we'll be looking at other, simpler versions this week as well)? Do they resonate? Does this format feel like it would be helpful for you? Do you sense the grace in it? Or does even the some of the vocabulary feel like it might bring up too much for you, particularly if there has been spiritually-related trauma of some kind in your life? Be gentle with yourself, and engage these steps only if they feel life-giving to you today.

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2021-05-11 14:28:05 UTC