St Leonards Church
Prayer & Reflection
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking back over the last 70 years of HM The Queen’s long reign; celebrating and being thankful for her service to our nation. In last month’s Prayer Page we were introduced to some Ignatian spirituality called ‘The Examen’ as a way of looking back and finding peace.
This month, I’d like to offer you two practical ways of continuing with this and then return to prayer at the end.
1. If you keep a journal, look back over it briefly. See what pops out at you. If you don’t keep a journal, looking back at photos can also evoke memories.
2. Go through your calendar in some detail, one week at a time, recalling (and writing down) the notable events, emotions and experiences of the past few months or even the whole year - people often do this around the new year, but it can be done at any time.
This exercise can bring clarity and joy. It’s like that moment when climbing a mountain, you pause and turn, as much to catch your breath as to catch a view of the valley. Reviewing the past is literally that - a ‘re-view’, a new view - of the places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen.
It can be easy to feel like a failure when things go wrong or times are hard. The Examen is a wonderful way to gain perspective and to discover surprising symmetry in the chaos of our lives. Experiences which seemed isolated at the time emerge as pieces of a greater unfolding pattern. We can perceive ways in which we’re changing, lessons we’re learning and evidence of God’s faithfulness in the cracks and details of our days.
This process is a form of the prayer of Examen. The Ignatians used Latin words to outline its four stages, but more simply, it can be like this:
1. RECALL - the past time in as much detail as you can, but not too much
2. REJOICE - wherever God‘s blessings become evident.
3. REPENT - wherever sinful patterns or attitudes become clear.
4. REBOOT - How can I be more like Jesus in the year to come?
“I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”
(from the Bible: Habakkuk. 3:18-19)
Material for this Prayer Page was taken from the blog of Pete Greig: dirtyglory.org