Father Peter Gregory
As witnesses to the Christian way of life we gather to worship and
we raise the Scriptures before us to proclaim, “This is
the Word of the Lord”! These words spoken in a
prayerful setting fit so naturally yet, in the common
experiences of life we need to reflect on God’s Word and
our own words. How does God challenge us daily to
unite our words with “the Word of the Lord”?
To live the life of a Christian is as challenging today
as it was when Jesus first proclaimed “A new law I give
you. You must love one another”. Among the laity
of centuries since medieval days, as well as an
established aspect of each day of a religious through
the years there has been and is a time in the evening
moments of prayer when there is a pause from the unified
words of recited prayer. This time of personal
reflection is called the examen.
This examen has five basic steps: to give
thanks to God, recalling the blessings of
the day, to review the events of the day
from waking to the final moments of the day,
to focus on the sense of sorrow
remembering any actions or words for which to be sorry,
to recall any actions for
which the person should ask forgiveness of God or others
and, lastly, to ask the grace needed for the
next day and to see God’s presence in all.
Why not adapt this to our own
evening moments of prayer? What are the words we
have used during the day? Were they the words with
which our Lord comforted and taught. Were our
words those of reconciliation and peace? Were they
words of greeting and inclusiveness, or were our words
an expression of criticism or of anger? Were our
words harsh, bitter and divisive?
This simple practice included in our evening prayer is
the making of our holiness. We are, in a sense,
the Word of God lived out as an apostle of the Gospel.
“Go, live the Mass” or, more commonly, “Let us go forth
to love one another as God has loved us” is the final
exhortation of the Word of God heard and internalized.
The Eucharist has become the Love of God which energizes
and focuses His Word. The daily examen is an
excellent format by which we make ourselves accountable
to God’s commission to bear Christ to the world.
Our world needs those who carry the Word of God into the
marketplace. There we exemplify the Gospel message
with our words and with our actions. The daily examen
can be a guide and a challenge. It also can
portray the power of His Word.
Father Gregory is
Pastor of Saint Charles ChurchVisit
St. Charles' Website