It is at this time of the year, these days on the calendar, I begin to ponder the end of one thing and the beginning of something else: the end of one year and the beginning of a new year. While nothing really happens except turning to a fresh page on the visuals we call calendars, it feels right to pause and reflect.
As I sat down to write this, I opened YouTube and watched a review of the year 2020. As you might imagine, the images were filled with sadness, loss, catastrophe, grief, cries for justice, outrage at injustice, fire, violence, death. As I watched, I wondered if this review accurately portrayed the year. Was there nothing good? Was God not active anywhere?
There is an ancient tradition called Examen. It is the process of a daily or weekly review of one’s personal experiences. Often occurring at the end of the day (or week), the participant begins by prayerfully acknowledging God’s presence, giving permission for the unveiling of the consolations (presence of God) and desolations (moments of failure) throughout the time period in review. The time ends with gratefulness for the presence of God and confession for times of failure. It is a means of wiping the slate clean, so to speak, on a regular basis.
As I considered the approaching end to the year 2020, I felt the Holy Spirit inviting me to prayerfully consider the year in the tradition of the Examen. I invite you to join me in this adventure as a means of clearing the slate to begin the new year on Friday.
Over the next few days, I will break down the elements of the Examen and provide some scripture to guide the practice. Of course, as always, you can be as involved or uninvolved as you like. In preparation, Psalm 139 is a great text to read. I will be using a portion of the psalm throughout this process.
Thanks again for joining me on this pilgrimage we call life. It’s comforting to have a traveling cohort – to know we don’t have to go at it alone.