A few years ago, a good friend of mine made a comment about how thankful he was that God had given him a reset button that morning after a very trying day. Well, that image and my appreciation of it hasn’t left me since. We all have those days, mine was just yesterday, where very little is going as planned, no one is on our timeline, and our patience is slim to none. Honestly, I could not even get out of my own way! So, that Jesuit training came into play once again last night as I sat down to Examen where it all went wrong, as well as, how to get back on track.
First, I had started my day by placing my own priorities ahead of my time with God. I know, “say it ain’t so”, but yes that was me. Seemingly too busy for mass, prayer or reflection- I plunged into the day’s events headfirst. In doing so, I realize that I had let the events of the day control me, allowing them to dictate where and what I was to do next. Moreover, this was creating within me a growing exasperation,
at my ineptitude at getting anything done much less doing it correctly.
Instead of giving God the space to meet these frustrations, as only God can, I was multiplying my mistakes and laying the path of destruction far and wide. Perhaps, this is a tad harsh but if you need a visual… just picture a funnel cloud.
“Father, I need you!” Spoken, around 4pm, this prayer was the first good decision that I had made all day. “I need your help and guidance for I don’t want to do it alone anymore.” Yes! Finally, after having spun my wheels and stuck in the muck, I reached out for my lifeline. God had heard me, and almost immediately I began to feel God drawing near to me. I say feel because God was there all along, simply waiting for the invitation to be a part of my day
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” -from The Confessions of Augustine
And just like that, I had begun my Examen…1. Become aware of God’s presence.
- Review the day with gratitude. Certainly something that I could not have done adequately earlier, I could now meet God with a grateful heart. Initially, just simply grateful that God came so quickly, and my inner peace restored. Yet, I was grateful also to have been given this time for reflection and a new perspective.
- Pay attention to your emotions. Ahh, peace. Yet, just a few hours earlier I was anything but at peace. While these feelings aren’t what we wish to recall or dwell on, they are an important part of our spiritual growth. Merely glossing over them, or worse, avoidance, doesn’t allow for us the time to learn from our mistakes.
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Thank you, Father, for taking my frustrations and meeting them with peace. Thank you for not holding a grudge or saying I told you so – but hurrying to meet me when I called. While I slipped, you never let me fall. Your love is ever so faithful!
- Look toward tomorrow. God’s great, big, awesome reset button – Oh, how I welcomed you today!