Rummaging for God is akin to searching through a drawer crammed with stuff. You know the item is in there, somewhere. Likewise we might have heard the phrase, “God in all things”, but question, “Is He really with me throughout every moment of the day?”
Listening for God seems so simple, yet it can be one of the hardest things to accomplish. It requires that we have our spiritual antennae tuned in and any other distractible influences turned off.
As Christians we desire that, “He is Lord of all.” This includes decision making in both the big and small areas of our lives. So often we seek His guidance in those life changing moments of job applications, college courses and whether or not to marry. Yet we promptly forget to ask, ” What do you want of me Lord, today?”
Consecrating Our Day
When we include God in our decision making processes we are not abnegating responsibility. Therefore we will still need to write our To-Do list including the least favourite tasks! However, we look at the day in a very different light, “through God’s eyes.” Praying a Morning Offering is a good place to start and my favourite is the one we say with our children:
“Father in Heaven, I give you this day. All that I think and do and say. I give you the good times aswell as the bad. The times when I’m happy, the times when I’m sad. Fill me with grace and make me strong. With you at my side, I cannot go wrong. Amen”
It is a living prayer, highlighting the many phases of emotions and difficulties we can encounter in the course of a day. Just because we awoke with a spring in our step, does not mean the day will end in that manner!
“Creator God, please show me, please teach me, where to look and what to live for. May I never ‘sleepwalk’ through my day.” Robin Daniels, ‘The Virgin Eye.’
Throughout The Day
Try to make the most of the time God has given to you, everyday. God can use you in so many ways; not only in the people we meet in real life but those online. It is essential that we keep our eyes open and look for ways to serve Him. As mentioned in the last post, this can even begin within our own four walls. Within a family, whether that be a couple on their own or with children, our mission is to encourage one another and to grow in holiness. There is nothing so challenging as “taming your tongue” in the presence of others! However we are each other’s sanctification and sometimes it is better to let things pass so that peace may reign.
In our workplace and wider community, we can view every interaction as an opportunity for spiritual union with Christ Jesus. We do this first and foremost by seeing ‘Christ in the other.’ So even when our work is unappreciated or criticised we can offer the rejection and hurt for love of Him. Jesus knows what it is to be misunderstood, despised and rejected, so who better to understand our needs? He longs to comfort us during those difficult moments of life.
At The Close Of The Day: The Examen
We are encouraged to make an examination of conscience prior to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This ideally should include a reflection on the ten commandments as well as church teaching laid down in the catechism. We do this by viewing our daily interactions in the light of these divine statutes.
In recent decades, spiritual writers have worked with the idea that, ‘conscience’ means more than just a moral awareness and judgement. It can also mean ‘consciousness.’ Prayer that deals with your full consciousness, looks at your spiritual journey in a much wider sense. It is a holistic approach and offers you the opportunity to meet God at a deeper level.
The Examen: A Five Step Method For Reviewing Your Day.
- Pray for light ~ our call to action here is to ask the Holy Spirit to lead with ‘graced understanding.’ In other words we are not solely reviewing our day based on our own memory, but through God’s illumination of the events which occurred.
- Review the day with thanksgiving ~ Instead of immediately focusing on our sins and weaknesses, look to the previous 24 hours and give thanks for: the gift of existence, work, relationships, food, shelter and challenges. Gratitude is the foundation of our whole relationship with God. As you walk through the day, hour by hour, give thanks for every encounter and task accomplished that day.
- Review the feelings that surfaced in the replay of the day ~ our feelings both positive and negative are clear signals of where the action was that day. God sees all and knows all, so allow yourself to come to Him just as you are, warts and all. It is crucial to give an honest appraisal because that leads into the next step below.
- Choose one of those feelings either positive or negative and pray from it ~ Choose the feeling that most caught your attention and through heartfelt, spontaneous prayer offer: praise, petition, contrition or a cry for help and healing.
- Finally look toward tomorrow ~ What activities, tasks or appointments are you facing during the next 24 hours? Can you identify any feelings of self doubt or anxiety? Now is the time to ask for help and any healing of an unmet need, so that the peace of God can pervade the following day. In closing and with thanks say ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’
“Pay attention to how you behave. Do not live as the unwise do, but as responsible persons. Try to make good use of the present time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5 v 15-16
Every day is a gift from God and something we should not take for granted. We do not know the place or the hour when He will call us home. How do you want to be remembered? As somebody who only lived for themselves or someone who made an effort to make a difference?
O GREAT SPIRIT, whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me!
I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.
LET ME WALK IN BEAUTY,
and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
MAKE MY HANDS
respect the things that you have made,
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
MAKE ME WISE
so that I may understand the things that you have taught my people.
LET ME LEARN
the lessons that you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I SEEK YOUR STRENGTH
not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight the greatest enemy – myself.
MAKE ME ALWAYS READY
to come to you with clean hands and bright eyes.
SO WHEN LIFE FADES
as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to without shame.
From ‘Words of Encouragement’ St Theresa and Sacred Heart Church, Leicestershire.