“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart I want to see you. I want to see you.
To see you high and lifted up shinin’ in the light of your glory. Pour out your power and love as we sing holy, holy, holy.
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see you. I want to see you.”
~ Michael J. Smith
This song has been going through my mind all week. That’s what I want and need this Lent. I need to see Jesus. The last two weeks, leading up to Ash Wednesday and continuing as I write, have been rough. But God is good and miracles do occur. Last week I didn’t write A Friday Meditation. I had no words. The week was full of serious situations, and I found I couldn’t force words either. I had to stop and honor that.
Lent helps me to remember not to be too busy to look for Jesus, in case I just let the day pass. There is a very easy prayer exercise that helps with this. I’m not really a journal person, but I am trying to write down the results of this every day at least during Lent.
The exercise is officially called The Examination of Consciousness or the Examen. This is not the Examination of Conscience which is an exercise to prepare for confession. The Examen is a way to see God’s presence in daily life. It reminds me where God has been with me today. It reminds me of what he has done, today. It helps me be aware, today. St. Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th century mystic and developer of The Spiritual Exercises believed that this prayer should be the most important quarter-hour of a person’s day and yet not many people have heard of it.
Faith tells us that God is everywhere, with us all the time, but we don’t often notice. This prayer is a way to remember. This process can also be used to help discern God’s will for you once you have used it for a time.
The Examen goes like this, or at least this is the way I do it. Sit your usual prayer place; I have a comfy chair in my bedroom, and light a candle if you wish. After sitting silently for a while, I might begin by thanking God for his blessings (Practice Gratitude – Element #7 of the Trinity Way of life) or pray for someone who lies heavy on my heart. Then, I sit in silence for 20 minutes after which I ask myself some of the following questions:
For what moment today am I most grateful?
For what moment today am I least grateful?
When did I have the most peace? (Consolation)
When, during the day, did I have the least peace? (Desolation)
When, today, did I feel I was moving toward God?
When did I feel that I was moving away from God?
When did I feel most alive today?
When did I most feel life draining out of me?
When today did I have the greatest sense of belonging to myself, to others and to God?
When today did I have the least sense of belonging?
Don’t judge these feelings; only observe them. The first question of each set shows where peace is and the second usually shows where it is not (Desolation). God speaks in peace (Consolation). Write the answers in a journal if you like. This exercise helps me see Jesus during the day. You might want to try this during Lent as part of your “taking on.”
Yesterday, I wrote this:
Most grateful – my brother’s successful surgery.
Least grateful – my need to take antibiotics because I’m allergic to them.
I did see Jesus, today.
Grace and Peace be with you.