Examine the Past 24 Hours
My kids and I like to do puzzles. Many days, after completing one puzzle, we bring another one out. On one such day, we had multiple puzzles out, and we decided it was time to clean up. So we did, carefully placing each puzzle back in its appropriate box. But as my daughter grabbed the boxes to bring them upstairs, the boxes slipped out of her hands, dumping the puzzles into a heap, the different puzzles mixing together. So my daughter and I sat down and began examining the pieces together, hoping to get them sorted into their right boxes.
One by one, we would look at a puzzle piece and examine its color, shape, and size. We would ask, “Where does this belong?” It was easy to determine where some pieces belonged, but others were more difficult to figure out. We had to sit with those a bit longer and examine them more closely. Eventually, we finished the job.
This is often how I picture praying the Examen (an ancient Christian prayer pattern of reviewing one’s day with God). Jesus is sitting down next to me, and together we are picking up the pieces of the past 24 hours of my life and examining them. We are looking at everything that occurred in those 24 hours. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I can review those hours and see where I can give thanks and name God’s presence. At the same time, with the Holy Spirit’s help, I can see where I struggled to name God or did not act as I wanted. Together, Jesus and I are asking, Does this belong? Does this help me grow closer in my relationship with God? Then, after we look at the pieces of my day, I look to my next 24 hours and ask for God’s help with it.
Becky Eldredge is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and the author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls. Learn more at BeckyEldredge.com or on Facebook and Instagram. Portions of these devotions are adapted or excerpted from Busy Lives & Restless Souls (Loyola Press, 2017) © Becky Eldredge, used by permission.