It’s FYI Wednesday and I have asked fellow Catholic moms for questions that they might have on such topics as motherhood and spirituality, children’s spiritual development, finding time for yourself, or just to learn more about Spiritual Direction; here is the latest question asked by Sarah:
Patti I have a question for Wednesday. My life is in such turmoil right now with health issues job loss and barely being able to make mass how can I keep my faith and spirituality in check and not lose faith
This is a great question, and one every one can relate to; everyone of us has had times of difficulty, such a difficulty that we feel God has abandoned us. It can also be seen as a great time of spiritual growth as you grow closer to God and God closer to you.
That closeness comes as we begin to learn about ourselves, our newly found strength, and realized blessing, but getting there can be hard work. First let’s look at Jesus’ reaction to all those whom he healed, confronted, or preached/taught; he never chided, nagged, yelled at, belittled or was cruel to anyone who came to him. So we can have the same confidence that he will deal with us in the same way.
With that we can have the freedom to become angry and feel that God will not “yell” at us. We can come in fear and know that God will give us resources we need. We can come with doubt and ask God to help us work through that doubt and be hopeful that God will help see the positive.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola was very clear with his novitiates that difficulties will come into their/our life, and these troubles are opportunities for great growth if we are prepared to see what God is calling us to change and what strength we have yet to call upon. St. Ignatius Loyola developed a specific prayer to help his novitiates to help them nurture a mind that was always looking, seeing God in everything that happens, and the positive aspects of those things; even in the most negative there is always something good: That prayer is the Examen.
What makes the Examen so powerful is that it helps us see God as present in our everyday life. The prayer helps us turn to him during the day-to-day tasks and concerns. The examen leads us into a relationship with a God who is head over heels in love with us, who does not want us to suffer alone, be isolated, be troubled. The Examen was created to be as easy as possible to say/do/use: it asks us to look our day and find the positive, but also to see what we might need to change.
The Five Steps
|1. Become Present to God
At the end of each day, or twice each day, set aside time to quiet yourself and come into God’s presence.
|.||3. Pray For Grace and Insight
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember what was important today and recognize how God has been moving in your life
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|2. Recognize the Gifts In Your Day
Reflect on everything you’re grateful for since you last did the Examen. All is gift from God… say thank you.
|Table Cell||4. Review Your Day
Replay each part of your day in your mind, being aware of how you felt, who you were in contact with, how you responded, and where God was working.
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|Table Cell||Table Cell||5. Look Toward Tomorrow
Ask Jesus for forgiveness where you need it, and for help and guidance for the next day as you listen for God again.
Sarah, our relationship with God is like any other relationship. It will have it’s ups and downs. It will have it’s fights. It will have it’s time when we just don’t like the other person, but still love him. It is the love we need to focus on, God’s love for us and our love for God.
It might be very helpful for you to keep a prayer journal. You can write down all the positive things that you have done, and the positive things God has done for you. You can look for patterns of when God was clearly working for you.
A wonderful poem about balance in life, love and faith, read it here.
Here is the booklet on the Examen