Even though I may sometimes struggle to get out of bed in the mornings, especially on cold winter days, I know that it is a gift to be able to rise early and spend the first part of my day with Jesus. I love being able to sit in silence with him, simply enjoying his presence, listening for his voice and allowing this to transform me.
You have probably heard of the prayer from St Ignatius called the Examen (in case you haven’t, here is a link to a previous blog which describes how to pray it - MGL Sisters :: Missionaries of God's Love Sisters :: MGL :: Praying the Examen on your hand Many people pray the Examen at night time before they go to sleep, and as MGL Sisters we do pray a brief examen together as a part of Night Prayer, so you might be wondering why I mention this when I have just talked about waking up in the morning.
Well, I have found that for me, the morning is a perfect time to pray a more in-depth Examen, asking the Holy Spirit to give me insight as to how I have responded to God in the previous day. My experience is that it helps to set my mind and heart on God for the day ahead. In the time of quiet prayer that follows, I intentionally ask Jesus for some words of love to frame my day. I find that this becomes a source of deep encouragement as I sense the reassurance that only Jesus can bring. I then write the words for each day on a poster that I have hanging on my wall, meaning that I have a constant visual reminder of the ways that Jesus is speaking to me. In tough moments, I can glance at this and be centred – (the picture above is my latest poster).
I figure that this may mean much more to you and indeed make more sense if I share an example of the words of love that Jesus has spoken, and what they have meant for my day. Recently, I was facing several challenges and I was experiencing a time of drought in prayer. I was restless and wanting answers to some questions that seemingly would not come. I was asking God to show me how he was present with me but struggling to experience the answer to that in a tangible way. As I prayed this, I had some words from a song I love come to mind. These words, all my life you have been faithful struck me to the core. They encouraged me to remember anew the faithfulness of God in my life and helped me to open my eyes in a fresh way to the powerful way God was present in my current challenge. It enabled me to feel ready to enter my day with renewed courage and strength.
So I encourage you to begin praying the Examen if you don’t already – and to finish by opening yourself to the words of love which Jesus would want to speak to nurture your heart.