This week Mark invites us to an Examen, originating from an idea by Dianne Hanley, called “What was Draining? What was Life-Giving?”
- I begin in my usual way.
- I spend a few moments in gratitude, thanking God for one or two of the blessings, big and small, that I’ve received today.
- Looking back over the day, I ask God to reveal to me which moment was the most draining. In my imagination, God and I return to that draining moment and I relive it—this time with God right beside me. I let myself become steeped in the moment, particularly in the most difficult thing about that moment. I let myself feel the strong emotions—lethargy, despair, and whatever other feelings are present in me. I present this draining moment to God, and I especially speak to God about what was going on in my heart and soul in that moment. If I handled it OK, then I thank God for that. If I handled it badly, I ask for pardon and peace.
- I ask God to speak to me about this moment. I remain receptive to anything God says or does.
- Looking over my day a second time, I ask God to reveal the most life-giving moment of the day. I again return with God to that moment, reliving both the exterior events and my interior dispositions. Steeped in joy, gratitude, and relief, I give it all to God. I talk with God about it, making sure to express my thoughts and feelings and to let God speak freely to me.
- I now look to tomorrow. What may be a draining moment of tomorrow? (Most of the time, we all have a pretty good guess about this.) I speak with God about this. I tell God how I feel about this possibility; I ask God to show me how I can spiritually prepare for this potentially draining moment. I ask God to keep me from contributing negatively to the situation by presuming the worst. I allow for the possibility that everything will go fine. I pray for the virtue of hope.
- I look to tomorrow a second and final time. What may be the most life-giving moment? I allow myself to get excited about this moment. I let myself fill up with good and wholesome desires about it. I tell God all about it. I let whatever happens happen. I ask God to help me spiritually prepare for the possibility that it won’t be as life-giving as I hope. I ask God for the ability to say, “That would be OK, too.”
- I end in my usual way.