Early this morning as I ventured out to gather wood for the fire, I stopped for a few moments to listen to the tiny birds chattering about the frosty breath of a crisp fall morning. The wonder and beauty of God’s creation opens my heart to the mystery and joy that is God.
I file the chatter of the tiny birds away as in prayer for tonight when I will thank God for the blessing of the joy, the sounds of the tiny birds and all of God’s creation gives me. The list will often include the sound of the wind in the pines, time with a friend, my husband’s laughter, a kind clerk who helped me, the events of my day.
I have spent the last year in study with the Spiritual Companioning program. This program has included devoting much time to various spiritual practices. I have for the last forty odd years spent time each day in morning meditation, so was surprised at how much my life would be changed by going deeper into time with God. I read recently that Spiritual Practices are a bridge to God, that has certainly proven to be true for me this year.
And this is how I came to the Prayer of Examen, this prayer penned by St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) founder of the Society of Jesus (aka the Jesuits) is the one thing that Ignatius advised his priests they must do every day without fail. This prayer has changed me, has changed my life. I spend my days consciously, or without thought, preparing my list of blessings that I might thank God for each evening. Some days I can hardly wait to begin my time in prayer so that I can express my gratitude for the life God has given me.
As I have spent my day collecting the blessings God has given me when I approach my King in prayer, my heart opens, and I can feel God’s presence in my gratitude. The prayer continues by asking God to send his Spirit to guide me, and then I share the joy of where I have seen God’s face that day. This prayer has brought peace to my soul, I find I have so much more compassion and patience with life events that in my past would have led to frustration and judgement. As I continue with the prayer asking God to forgive me if I have left him out of my day, or if I have sinned. And to close, I ask God to grant me the grace to always be available to him.
November the month when Americans celebrate being thankful, of all the people in the world even at our worst we are greatly blessed. May God richly bless each of you with His peace and love.