For many, the spiritual practice of the Examen is a rich and insightful experience. It offers a way to prayerfully reflect over the day and to interntionally notice what the day brought. It can be fertile soil for growth and transformation.
This week I came across this Thanksgiving Examen from Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin. I was partcularly drawn to it as it focusses on all that went well and all the ways we experienced life, joy and love.
Throughout his life Teilhard remained an optimist, despite the rejection he suffered from his religious order and from the official church because of his evolutionary ideas. In his prayer, instead of putting his attention on his failures and disappointments, he focused much more on praise, reverence, and gratitude when he related to God.
Teilhard preferred to focus, with God’s grace, on his own resilience, his capacity to adapt and to restore his enthusiasm for his work and relationships. If he was blocked from pursuing one avenue, he found another way.
This Examen offers a nightly review of your day focusing on what went right instead of what went wrong…
To give thanks in general to God our Lord for the benefits received in your life, in others, and in the world today.
To ask for grace to recognise all those particular things that happened to you and others that you should personally be grateful for.
To take account of your day from the hour that you arose up to the present time, hour by hour, or period by period: first your good thoughts, ideas, and intentions; then your good words spoken and heard; and then good acts, your actions and those of others, small or large, that positively touched your life or the life of someone else. Record these in your journal.
To praise and thank God our Lord for all the opportunities you had to make a difference in the world today and to inspire you to recognise more and more such opportunities in the future.
To thank God for all God has done for you, and to ask yourself: What can I envision doing that would lead me to be even more deeply grateful?