One of the most amazing experiences and one of the most useful aids to ministry came from a course of study in Ignatian spirituality and the 'examen'. I'm revisiting this because I've been asked to by a couple of the people who also engage with the daily Office I plonk on this blog.
The examen is usually a five-part exercise:
i. Retreat into a space where you and God can get real and lose yourself in His love,
ii. Pray and reflect on the ways God is to be found in your life,
iii. Refelect on the day- high, lows and in between and the emotions you experienced,
iv. Reflect on the things done, said and in the things of the day - did they enhance or diminish the sense of God' presence and blessing for you (and others)?
The coming year.
v. Focus on the day ahead and ways you and God might be one - in relationship and in making the missio dei real - concluding with the Lord's Prayer.
I do my examen in bed when the house is quiet and I can focus on God and today it has shown me so many areas to be thankful for and highlighted my own fears and insecurities and areas where I need the courage to go forward and the grace to live with others.
The sadness of a funeral followed by our Christmas holiday club set the extremities of today and within them there were chances taken, chances passed by and missed opportunities.
I realise that I am mentally tired and look for the Boxing Day opportunity for some respite.
I recognise the need to do some more study and reflection and to withdraw from the daily round more often and to make more of me more open to the move of God's Holy Spirit.
I pray for those who are wounded by their own folly and by the folly of others, for those who are in need of support and the provision of God's 'Yes' in their lives and for those for whom this will be a tough Christmas through loss and bereavement.
And pray for the new family coming to minister in the Meade Valley - may they be blessed and be a blessing.
Lord, the time is almost here and the stable is waiting - prepare my heart also.