St Mary Star of the Sea

Roman Catholic Church, Mississauga, Ontario

FRom The Desk of...…..

Lord, You engender the Body of the Holy Church in a way which You alone know and understand….. By means of Your Blood, You make a well-organized, well-formed Body of which You are the Head.  The angels delight in its beauty, the archangels admire it, the seraphim are enraptured by it, all the angelic spirits marvel at it, and all the souls of the blessed in heaven rejoice in it.  The Blessed Trinity takes delight in it in a manner beyond our comprehension.

St Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi

Quoted from Divine Intimacy, First Week After The Ephiphany, 44.

Last week I wrote about prayer, specifically expressed as meditation, as one way that is offered to live in the present moment. Another way that is offered to us by the spiritual masters is The Examen prayer. In many places in the Gospels, Jesus asks us to abide in Him. For us, this means that we accept our present reality and find God in that reality. The Examen prayer allows us to do this. One great book that I recommend is “The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today” by Fr Timothy Gallagher. What I offer in this note is just a summary of what is written in the book.

When praying the Examen, the acronym GRACE is a good way to remember the flow of the prayer. While rigid in its presentation, the prayer itself takes on a flow of itself if done with the mentality of speaking with Jesus as a friend in the embrace the of the Holy Spirit.

G -Gratitude - Start by giving thanks to God. I have spoken at length about gratitude and the fundamental attitude of a Christian towards God is giving thanks. All is gift and everyday we have something to be thankful for.

R - Request - Here we petition God to see ourselves as He sees us. It takes the self-reflective tone of the examination and brings it into the workings of the Holy Spirit, leading and guiding us through the prayer.

A - Accounting or Attitude - Here we take account of what has happened in our life since our last Examen prayer time. It is a review of the day, the encounters, the attitudes, the thoughts the feelings that were stirring within. It also gives us a chance to see how we responded to situations and we identify patterns and habits.

C - Chart Your Course - Based upon our accounting, what needs changing? What does not need changing? Do I need to go to confession to seek forgiveness for my actions?

E - Enthusiasm - We ask God for the grace to do better with firm resolutions. It is always good to end our prayer with that hopeful attitude, knowing that by His grace we can do better.

Father Michael