Looking for God’s Goodness in contemplation and prayer.
When we seek, we find. Today provides an exercise for you to practice flexing your finding muscle. You might find goodness in the following Thanksgiving Examen as previously published here by the Center for Action and Contemplation.
An Evolutionary Examen
Louis M. Savary was a Jesuit for thirty years and has been studying, writing, and teaching on his fellow Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin for over fifty years. He has a knack for making Teilhard’s writings, which are almost exclusively about evolution, accessible. Here he introduces a version of the Ignatian Examen that emphasizes our participation with God’s desire for evolution by increasing our awareness of goodness, gratitude, possibility, 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.
In recent years, psychologists have discovered a basic law of psychological and spiritual life. We might call it the first law of spiritual energy. It is simply this: Energy follows attention. In other words, wherever you focus your attention is where the energy of your body, mind, and spirit goes.
In terms of this first law of spiritual energy, 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.
Teilhard’s life suggests a nightly review of your day focusing on what went right instead of what went wrong. If you focus on giving and receiving love, your thinking will change for the better. If you focus on thinking good thoughts, your heart will grow more loving. The heart and mind are always interacting in concert.
This process is known as the Thanksgiving Examen. . . .
1. To give thanks in general to God our Lord for the benefits received in your life, in others, and in the world today.
2. To ask for grace to recognize all those particular things that happened to you and others that you should personally be grateful for.
3. 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.
4. 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 recognize more and more such opportunities in the future.
5. 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? Close with the Our Father [or another prayer with deep significance for you].
Gift of Peace: Weekly Reflection Summary
Sunday – The Ultimate Gift. “Peace is the gift that Jesus Christ brought us from heaven, his gift, the gift of God; a gift so beautiful, so profound, so all-embracing, so efficacious, that we shall never truly comprehend it.” Archbishop Luis María Martínez
Monday – Truly Blessed. It has taken me a long while but now I’m starting to understand what it means to be truly blessed.
Tuesday – Asking for help. The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. Psalm 145:18
Wednesday – Larger Than Me. Blessed are those who hear the word of the Lord and obey it Luke 11:28
Thursday – Enjoy the Journey. “Faith is not a suit of armor that encases us; instead, it is a fascinating journey,” Pope Francis.
Friday – Surrendering the struggle. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind. Philippians 4:7