No God- No Peace. Know God- Know Peace. The framed quote above was given to me years ago. I have moved it from one office to another over the years. It reminds me to seek the calm in the midst of life that has many changes and challenges, heartaches and heartbreaks, hopes and dreams. This Advent season I want to invite you into a peaceful practice; Examen.
Examen is a daily prayer asking for God's light to understand and appreciate the day. It is a practice to end your day connected to God. You can read about its origins and roots. Here is a YouTube link if you want to listen to people share about this practice.
Examen is a way to daily and intentionally deepen your connection with God. Examen is a way to peacefully reflect upon the day exploring how you saw the movement of God in the people and events of your day. In Examen you are intentional in giving God thanks, praying about events from the day, facing your shortcomings, addressing your feelings and being aware of how God is with you.
God with us- Emmanuel. This is what we are preparing for, waiting for, hoping for in the season of Advent. Slowing down and allowing time and space for Examen is an invitation to try something in the season of Advent.
During the four weeks of Advent we explore the gifts of hope, peace, joy and love. I am giving to myself the gift of time before going to sleep each night to incorporate this new (to me) practice of Examen. Right now I am very motivated to add to my spiritual tool kit.
It was a week ago today that I was in the hospital waiting room after Dan had a heart attack. As I waited, I knew peace. Whatever the outcome; I knew that God was with Dan, with the cardiologist and the medical team, with me. Peace was present even in the midst of unknowns.
In reflection, I attribute this inner peace to the past three months of daily Centering Prayer practice. A reservoir of consent and connection with God has been building up. In the surgery waiting room I had my journal and wrote out my fears and concerns. I offered up the Welcoming Prayer many times when it felt like I had a hard time catching my breath. Letting go and letting God can take many forms. In the days ahead, as Dan recovers and we adjust to changes~ to add another practice that deepens a connection with God feels like a gift.
This Advent season I invite you to give to yourself a gift of intentional time spent deepening your relationship with God. This can take many forms. Perhaps this invitation of Examen comes to you at the right time, as it did for me earlier this week when listening to a webinar on mental health in which one of the presenters shared about this practice.
Advent is time for hope, peace, joy and love. In this season as we prepare our hearts and minds, our homes and our lives, we focus on what we are preparing for and waiting for; to once again receive the greatest gift of all times: Jesus. When we know God -we can know peace no matter what may be taking place around us. This season I encourage you to make time and take time for the most important Christmas preparation; prepare your heart.