Ash Wednesday Exam Time


Ash Wednesday Exam Time

Did you ever pull an “all-nighter” studying for a test the next day? There were several occasions when I came close to doing that but I also learned that being exhausted and taking a test was not always the best idea! Today is Ash Wednesday. Many will go to church to receive ashes as a reminder we are not perfect, we make mistakes, we don’t get a perfect score every day, and because of our humanness we need to be ever so aware of all Jesus did on our behalf. Interestingly, these days leading up to celebrating the Resurrection of Christ encourage and call us to examine our lives in reference to His.

There is a special exam to help us in our faith. We don’t have to pull an all-nighter” either! It is called the Examen (from St. Ignatius Loyola). It’s very powerful, revealing, and simple. As we each begin this Lenten journey, the Examen may help us come more in tune with our own hearts and take notice of how we are living out our faith.

So, what is the Examen? The Examen is a time of prayer reflecting on the current day, focusing on our thoughts and actions, and recognizing God’s Divine Presence.

There are five steps to the Daily Examen:
1. Prepare your heart and mind. Center yourself by lighting a candle or taking a few deep breaths.
2. Give thanks for the day. Think back through the events of your day, noting both times when you felt joy and when you were troubled. Think about times you reflected the light of Christ and when you may not have done so. Ask God to remind you of times you might not remember.
3. Pay attention to your emotions. If you remember something specific, ponder what it means for your faith and relationship to God and others.
4. Pray for those times that did not reflect the light of Christ in your faith.
5. Pray for tomorrow. Ask God to be more present in your heart and mind. Ask God to show you His way in all you do. Give thanks for the night to come and the day ahead.

It’s that simple! In the Examen we encounter God, express gratitude for the gift and gifts of each day and commit to make up for any mistakes we may have made. The joy that comes from this time of daily prayer time can be faith changing. What better time to start than Lent?
Note: Each Tuesday I post a Tuesday Treasures on my blog. I would be honored if you would take a moment to go to my website and sign up to receive it. The link is in the comments.
#prayer #examen #lent #ashwednesday

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