Archive | May 22, 2016

EXAMEN – the St. Ignatius Prayer

Social Justice

Social justice is an area of concern for all of us. The early Jesuits often described their work as simply “helping souls.” The great Jesuit leader Pedro Arrupe updated this idea in the 20th century by calling those formed in Ignatian spirituality “men and women for others.” Both phrases express a deep commitment to social justice and a radical giving of oneself to others. Many organizations and colleges informed by Ignatian spirituality offer opportunities to work for social justice in the world today.

How Can I Pray?

A great way to pray is to look for God’s presence in your life. More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us.


The Examen Prayer Card

Here are two videos that may help you with the Examen Prayer:



Here is a detailed version of the St. Ignatius prayer:

  1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.
  2. Review the day with gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.
  3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?
  1. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a feeling—positive or negative. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.
  2. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.

St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus. Ask forgiveness for your sins. Ask for his protection and help. Ask for his wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude. Your life is a gift, and it is adorned with gifts from God. End the Daily Examen with the Our Father.

Global Reality Meal

Yesterday we took part in a Global Reality Meal.

Each of us had no idea what to expect.

We took a raffle ticket and entered the Hall.  

We were then directed to an area in the Hall. We still had no clue.

Then all was revealed: we were taking part in a Global Reality Meal.

“As each of us walked in the door here today, we chose, at random, our lot.  

Equality and balance don’t exist here.

It is important to note that no one section of this room represents a single country.

Stark inequalities prevail, both worldwide and within countries, even in Australia.”

Caritas Australia works with all people to enable them to learn more about poverty,

with the aim of inspiring people to “be more” and serve the poorest in our world.

Here are some of our comments on the activity:

Did you know?

1.4 billion people, around a fifth of the world’s population – live on just over one dollar a day.

Just under a billion people – almost one seventh of the world’s population – regularly go to bed hungry.

One in five children in developing regions is underweight.

Every 4 seconds, a child dies from hunger or other preventable cause.

That’s 22,000 children every day!

We were then introduced to the three segments of this world.

a) If we were sitting with a smaller group we represented the 15 percent of the world’s population who are fortunate enough to be able to afford a nutritious daily diet. We consume 70 percent of all the grain grown in the world. We have access to the best medical care in the world. Our children will be able to go to school; we live in a comfortable and secure home. We own at least one car and probably two televisions. It’s a good life because WE have access to everything we need and we have security.  [Those of us who were sitting here, were able to sit at tables, where a large selection of food was laid out in front of us. It was far too much for us to eat!]

b) If we were sitting in the middle group, we represented about 30 percent of the world’s population. The levels of access and security we enjoy vary greatly. We live on the edge. For many of us, one crop lost due to drought or a serious illness, would throw us into poverty. We probably own no land and may work as a day laborer, which pays a small amount, but it’s better than nothing. Our small income allows for some use of electricity and a few years of schooling for our children. We work long hours performing back-breaking work but still cannot afford nutritious food for our children. Through no fault of our own, we were born into this harsh life. We hope that our children will have the opportunity to do better. [Those of us who were in this section, had food laid out on tables, but there was not as great a selection from which to choose. At least our water was poured out in cups for us.]

c) If we were sitting on the floor, we represent the majority of the world’s population – roughly 55 percent. We may earn about $2 a day – although many of us earn much less. Most of us are from poor countries such as Cambodia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, El Salvador or Malawi. Every day is a struggle to meet our family’s basic needs. Finding food, water and shelter can consume our entire day. Many of the women have to walk five to ten kilometers every day to get water, spend several more hours working the fields, and of course take care of the children. Many of us are frequently hungry. It is quite likely that we don’t get the minimum number of calories our hardworking life requires. Many of us are homeless or living in such flimsy houses that a hard rain or strong wind can cause a major catastrophe. School is a luxury few of our children will ever experience. For most of us, early death is all too familiar, with many mothers expecting to lose one or two children before they turn five. We get occasional work as a day laborer at a large plantation producing crops such as bananas, sugar or coffee for export. We reap few benefits from these crops; we’d prefer to grow food that your children can eat. [Those of us who were in this group, were sitting on the floor. We only had some dry biscuits. There wasn’t enough food for all of us. We had to walk outside with our cups to get our drink of water.]