"EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE" is the most important prayer of the day.
The word "consciencia" in Spanish or Latin can mean either "conscience" or "consciousness. More recent studies, however, reveal that what Ignatius meant was NOT an examination of conscience, but of consciousness - GOD CONSCIOUSNESS!
The fundamental question is NOT: "What have I done?" BUT "How conscious have I been of GOD doing things in me and for me??" How did He come to me today? Through what events? What persons? Did I recognize Him when He came??? The Purpose is to grow in intimacy with God.
The fundamental attitude is listening, not enquiring, ie. listening to God's Holy Spirit. Examen makes us contemplatives in action. What has He been telling me today?
"Listen, let your heart keep seeking…. Listen to His constant speaking…." (1100 x in OT, 445 x in NT!)
"I called - and no one answered….; I spoke, and no one listened…" (Jer. 7: 13)
I review the hours that have gone. I listen to what God has been saying to me. I thank and praise Him for His loving kindness of which I become more aware. Or I beg His pardon as I realize my poor response to Him. I lovingly accept His will. I petition Him for help.
I also foresee the hours that are going to come, trying to recognize Him in them.
I purify my motives for doing what I have to do, not for selfishness, pride, vanity, anger, or going by likes and dislikes, name & fame etc. Instead my motives will be obedience to His will, following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, imitation of Jesus, love (of God and others) etc.. What I do is not a fraction as important as why I do it. A Francis of Assisi will be more united with God receiving a glass of water than another receiving Holy Communion mechanically… "This to me the greatest treason; To do the right thing for the wrong reason!" ("Murder in the Cathedral") Is it wrong to kiss the Master? No, but in Judas it was foul treason.
God-consciousness examen will ensure that my actions will not be done in a spiritual mist, but that I become a C.I.A. - contemplative in action!! Examen will be the tool for me to seek God in all things and to find Him in everything. I beg the grace to do everything.
1. Jesus teaches us to give thanks always not only in plenty but also in scarcity, not only in success and security but also in failure and insecurity, not only in love and laughter but also in pain and tears. "Is my gloom after all shade of His hand outstretched caressingly?" (The Hound of Heaven, by Francis Thompson)
2. God's gifts of Creation, Redemption, Vocation…..
1 Cor. 4: 7 : All is gift… What have you got that you have not received?
James 1:17: All from the Father…
1 Jn. 4:10 : His Own Son….
Rom.6: 3-4: New life through Baptism…
Jn. 6: 51: Living Bread of life
Jn.20:22 : His Own Holy Spirit…
Jn. 1: 3 : All things were made through Him ….
Did you know that the brain is a computer with a capacity of a billion times more than is used in a lifetime; the eye is a fully automatic, self-focusing, non-blurring, colour, motion picture camera; the heart pumps 5700 litres or more daily; the nervous system receives and acts on 100,000,000 sensations per second???!!!
3. He is present in His gifts
Acts 17:28 : In Him we live and move and have our being… All gifts are manifestations of His goodness.
1 Cor. 3:16 : We are God's temple.
Eph. 2:19-22:You are being built into a house where God lives…
Eph. 4:3-6: There is one God Who is Father of all, over all and within all.
Earth's crammed with heaven, and every bush aflame with God; but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit down and pluck berries… (Elizabeth Browning)
4. God works for us:
Jn. 5:17 : My Father is working and so am I!
1 Cor. 3:6-9: God gave the growth…
5. Praise & Thank Him always:
Col.3:15-17; 4:2 : Always be thankful!
Eph. 5: 20 : Always and for everything give thanks to God the Father…
Phil. 4: 6 : With thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…
1 Thes. 5:16-18: Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Xt. for you. (Praise Him even for our sins because of the effects! O felix culpa! SS Peter & others became better people). Prison to Praise! 'Calamity' may well be a blessing in disguise, developing latent strengths & showing God's power and love.
Sir. 43:30 : When you exalt Him do not grow weary for you cannot praise Him enough!
On a plain tombstone in Port Said, only 2 words below the name of the deceased: "Thanks, Lord"!!
Response: Ps. 8: Great is your name, Lord! Ps.19: The heavens tell the glory of God!! Take & Receive!