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Predispositions for Discernment: Interior Freedom: rid the soul of inordinate attachments. – Ignatius referred to inordinate attachments as “honor, riches and pride.” Predispositions for Discernment: Knowledge: Understanding one’s limits and patterns of temptation is needed for the naming and claiming of one’s deepest desires. Also, understanding of the complexities of a given situation. Predispositions for Discernment: Imagination: The ability to imagine new possibilities and imagine things could be other. Transcendence begins when one imagines things could be other. Predispositions for Discernment: Patience: The ability to wait attentively for an answer is key. The ability to delay gratification and discipline one’s self to listen for the movement of the good or the spirit. Predispositions for Discernment: Courage: The courage to act, to make the change or choice once one knows the good. Goal of the Examen The Examen consists of a spiritguided exploration of one’s life. It is built on the premise that we are seeking to grow gradually into the truest being that God has made us to be. Authentic growth necessitates true insight. I. Prayer for Enlightenment The prayer for enlightenment is a humble request to God for insight into the mystery of who we truly are in the eyes of God. I. Prayer for Enlightenment The prayer of enlightenment is a transparent disrobing before God. I. Prayer for Enlightenment It takes seriously the Psalmist’s depth filled chant: “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb … my very self you knew … my days were shaped before I even came to be.” I. Prayer for Enlightenment The prayer of enlightenment opens our hearts and minds to God to inform us of our deepest self through the resonating echoes of our thoughts and feelings in response to life. I. Prayer for Enlightenment So, the prayer of enlightenment is to recall that we are in the presence of God and humbly ask God to illuminate the movements of the spirit in the days activity. II. Prayer of Reflective Thanksgiving: The prayer of reflective thanksgiving grounds us in the fundamental stance of the Christian. Our basic human nature is one of dependence on God. II. Prayer of Reflective Thanksgiving: Of ourselves, we possess nothing and yet we are gifted by God at every instant in and through everything. II. Prayer of Reflective Thanksgiving: Our gratitude to God for God’s good gifts on two different levels: 1. Gratitude that we are at all. – Thanksgiving for being created and sustained by a loving God. 2. The second level is for the particular gifts of this day. III. Practical Survey of Actions: Sifting through the activity from the day and attend to the thoughts and feelings that we experienced in response to our activity. The primary quest in the survey of our days activity is to find how God has been active in our everyday life. III. Practical Survey of Actions: Uncovering the movements of God’s loving activity in our daily lives. Our interior moods, feelings and urges and movements in response to our world are “spirits” that draw us towards or away from God. III. Practical Survey of Actions: The “spirits” need to be sifted out and discerned so that we can more readily know and understand God’s presence in our thoughts, feelings and actions. III. Practical Survey of Actions: The sifting is the naming and claiming of the consolation and desolation in our lives. IV. Prayer for Healing: The prayer for healing invites healing and reconciliation into the broken places and the areas of desolation in our own lives. IV. Prayer for Healing: It enables the natural movement of our heart’s longing to be made whole for those times during the day where we have failed to be gentle, kind, patient, caring and compassionate. IV. Prayer for Healing: It opens the desolate thoughts, feelings and actions of our day to Christ’s healing Mercy. IV. Prayer for Healing: It opens the desolate thoughts, feelings and actions of our day to Christ’s healing Mercy. – Out of the practical survey of our actions, we become aware of how we have lacked God and failed to bring to life our truest self. IV. Prayer for Healing: It invites God to make whole the desolate areas within one’s being and reconcile the harm that one’s actions, motivated by desolation, have caused. V. Intention of Hope for the Future: The organic development of the Examen leads us to face the future by integrating the consolation from the day and Christ’s healing of our brokenness into our lives. The intention of hope is essentially an act of surrender to reality and our truest selves. V. Intention of Hope for the Future: It is saying “yes” to God’s grace in our lives. – It means bringing into consciousness how we hope that growth and change will unfold as a result increased awareness and prudence in our daily lives. V. Intention of Hope for the Future: In naming and claiming the consolation in our lives, we name and claim our true self. – Our true self is always a self for others oriented towards the common good. V. Intention of Hope for the Future: Our intentions of hope are composed of possible concrete actions towards the common good flowing organically from the grace of our Examen. What is the purpose of praying the Examen? Integration! Integration! The Examen fundamentally necessitates the unity of the affective and the rational, the wholeness of the human person. Integration! Affectivity and reason inner penetrate each other and are in constant interaction. Our feelings and desires are stirred by what we understand, know, reason about, and evaluate. Integration! This is a constant mutual interaction between the affective life and the life of the mind. Integration calls us to harmony: Which is different for every person. Some of us are heady people who need to integrate our affect. Some are oozing masses of feeling and we need to integrate our thoughts to reason things out. Integrity requires harmony between both. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Physical factors- physical health factors provide obstacles to discernment. – Time and resources can prevent obstacles as well. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Psychological and emotional – Important to discern the difference between clinical depression and acute anxiety. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Addictions and attachments – These limit a person’s effective freedom. – Not only drugs, gambling and sex but also things like shopping, fantasy, daydreaming, entertainment or work. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Rigidity in attitudes – An extreme need for certitude or a need for complete ambiguity and total freedom. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Lack of imagination – The inability to make use of our imagination to think of what could be other. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Fragmentation – Not experiencing the fullness of our affectivity: anger, aggression, resentment, jealousy, envy greed and so on. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Fear – It can lead us to control and manipulate rather than to be open to the spirit. Social or cultural Factors- Political and social systems that impose external limitation of our choices. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Theological Factors – our image of God can impede our confidence and trust in God’s love. – To be truly Human means to accept that we can potentially know and do the good at all times and in all places. Obstacles that block our conscious awareness: Images of self – distorted self perception or the lack of ability to accept one’s real self works destructively by creating a habitual discontent with one’s self. Enlightenment: By bringing about enlightenment (wisdom, loving kindness, compassion, non-duality and interdependence), the Examen provides the basic reference points for our understanding and acting in the world. Innerconnectivity: The Examen connects us to the world around us by illuminating the innerconnectivity of all creation. The “inner” and the “outer” are deeply connected. The Examen reveals our co responsibility with others for the state of things Enjoy the Process: The Examen teaches us that means are just as significant as ends and in fact are ends. The reality of our daily lives is just as important as our accomplishments. Kindness and compassion is far more important than the content of our resume or the size of our bank statements. Social Transformation: The Examen leads to social action and social transformation based upon reconciliation, rather than victory from one side. This harmony and reconciliation starts with the self through the Examen and moves out into cooperation for a just society. Conclusion: The Examen leads us into habitually doing the greater good. Conclusion: The greater good is that which, if put into effect, would “give praise, reverence and service to God.” It gives a greater praise or glory to God. Conclusion: Given the possibilities and limitations of our given circumstances, the greater good is usually the choice that most embodies the reign of God. Conclusion: Using ones gift to create a world in which the dignity of all people is upheld. The greater good is always the more universal good. It always is, of necessity the common good.
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