Examen Me

I’m not sure if any of you are familiar with this site based on the Ignatian Examen, but I’ve been using it daily for the past few days and have found it to be a real help in doing my daily Examen.

The site is Examen.me and it basically lets you journal your Examen—and you can even save what you write for review later if you want. I plan to look back over a week’s worth at week’s end and do a week-long examen using this to guide me. It’s free but you have to register for an account.

Give it a go. There’s even some offshoots of a traditional examen that uses the psalms and the gospel reading of the day to help your focus.

The Examen is Ignatius’ way of teaching us to look at the rhythms of our lives through a review of the day. We can see where we had energy and where we were lacking in energy. Over times we even notice the patterns of our lives for good or for bad. A personal example: I noticed once that whenever I hung out with a particular group of people I’d get sucked into their drama and begin to gossip with them. I didn’t stop hanging around them, but I forced myself to not fall into the gossip trap and even tried to change the subject when it would head down that road. I wasn’t always successful–sin can master us sometimes–but I got better over time and we even found new ways to spend out time as a group because of it. I also found a pattern of loving writing and providing direction for students and other young adults. It is where I feel the most awesome, vibrant presence of God…in those moments of quiet and in those moments where I can most listen carefully for where God is lurking and guide others into a better relationship.

That’s what the Examen does for me. It points me in the path of where I can see God working in my life and leading me to joy.

I hope you join me on your own journey.

And when you do, I hope it is there that you will fall in love:

As Fr. Pedro Arrupe once prayed:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Let us pray today that we will be able to fall in love with God and be led into the heart of where we are most called to be the best version of ourselves.

What You Fall In Love with Determines Everything

The snip above is from a quote from the former Superior General of the Jesuits, Pedro Arrupe. It is the quote I display on my Facebook page and also have it framed in my office.

Christina, a Catholic Charities Volunteer here in Buffalo who I have become close friends with over the last few months, wrote some of the most beautiful reflective words after meditating on Fr. Arrupe’s words on her blog “A Star in the Sky.”

I think we deploy distractions instead of faith because that’s what we’re used to, or we are not up to digging deeper within ourselves to expose that raw beauty and vulnerability. It’s easy to have a comfortable faith that begins and ends on Sundays. It doesn’t take much mental or emotional effort to throw money at charities. Sometimes we are afraid of finding the ugly things that dwell inside of us.

The truth is that it hurts to be vulnerable. I am trying, day by day, to fully open myself up to God to see all that’s in me- the irrational, immature, self-centered part of me, and have asked Him to help me rid myself of those things. And while it hurts to look at that part of myself, I feel the love of acknowledging the ugly and I know that with God, it is transformed to beauty.

The truth is that when we fall in love with who God calls us to be–well, that in fact makes our lives a whole lot harder. It’s a more challenging way to live, but once awakened to God’s call–can we ever live any other way?

Discerning who we are, what attracts us and most importantly, what we are in love with (not who, per se–but what) is indeed what will determine everything.

And that might lead you somewhere wonderful, that just might bring you bliss, and it just might get you killed too.

Let us pray for the freedom to fall in love with who we are and what we are called to. To be free from the fear we have in living lives of integrity and challenge and as Micah writes: to “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God.”