For all these years that I have done my best to apply Ignatian spirituality in daily life, I have only done the review of the day in an erratic manner, sometimes for quite a stretch at a time.
In some places it is called the Review of the Day, in others the Consciousness Examen and, long ago apparently, it was known as the Examination of Conscience. All this ends up being rather confusing. Leaving conscience and consciousness aside as I am not sure of their exact definition, I will use the expression the Review of the Day.
While in Manresa, a little book was very strongly recommended to us: Discovering Your Personal Vocation: The Search for Meaning Through the Spiritual Exercises (Herbert Alfonso, SJ, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn and Dennis Linn). I liked it very much: it is truly a gem.
If I understand the book correctly, Godde has created me with a vocation in mind, not so much something to ‘do’, but someone to ‘be’. I will know who I am meant to be by finding out that which gives me life, that which makes me sparkle with enthusiasm and energy. One way to find this out is to review my day and to identify those moments when my heart expanded or closed down (my words).
Among other things, Herbert Alfonso explains that Godde comes to me in all sorts of ways to shower me with love. It’s up to me to recognize those daily gifts. It’s through them that I will find out who I am meant to be. Of course, there are also moments in my life which hurt me, scare me, anger me. Times of shadows, Sacred Space would say.
From what I have learned during the eight-day retreat in Manresa, my ‘false self’ moves in the shadows, and my ‘true self’ recognizes Godde (my words again). I will write about these two selves at a later time.
My current review of the day is also the outcome of a Morning Prayer given by a sunny Australian man early on in the Course. As he lead us through his reflection, I was struck by his idea of picking out one good moment and one bad moment out of the day; then to lift each one of them in prayer.
At the end of the day then, I sit comfortably with my notebook and a pen. I turn my mind to Godde, who loves me beyond belief and reason, and I review my day. All those gifts through which She came to hug me: the birds chirping, a friend’s unexpected call, my grandson sending me a short video, a newscast on the radio or an article online, an errand I suddenly decide to do and the positive feeling I am left with. I also look for these moments when my inner sky got clouded, windy, and unfriendly.
At that point, I pick one moment of each kind, and I lift that moment to Godde, using that prayer to talk to Her and share the moment for which I thank Her and for which I need Her help. One result which comes out of this: my scary times are getting less scary. I don’t feel alone with them any longer.
Since I spend some time with Godde in the morning as well, my day begins and ends with a time with Godde. Slowly, I’m learning again to be open and honest with Her. I am trusting Godde, which feels new to me.
In Her name.
Photo: Sky in viejo San Juan