Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, taught the practice of examen. He recommended that the brothers examine their lives twice each day—at lunch and at night before bed. I like the examen questions as interpreted by the authors of Sleeping with Bread, a book by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn:
For what moment today am I most grateful? For what moment today am I least grateful?
When did I give and receive the most love today? When did I give and receive the least love today?
When did I feel the most alive today? When did I feel the life draining out of me?
They say to ask God to bring to your heart the moment for which you are the most grateful. Then they suggest you breathe in gratitude and thank God. Then ask God to bring to your heart the moment for which you were the least grateful. Ask yourself what happened in that moment that was so difficult. Be with the answer without trying to fix it or change it. Breathe out fear.
This message is excerpted from “How do you renew your spirit in Lent?” by Kate Elliott from the March 5, 2020, Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Olavus Petri, priest, 1552; Laurentius Petri, Bishop of Uppsala, 1573; renewers of the church.
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