A 500-year-old tradition of prayer goes online to offer a quick Lenten retreat
Posted in , Mar 3, 2015
The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, urged: “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6, The Message)
Paul didn’t say exactly how those reading his letter were to “test” themselves. But one medieval Christian developed a systematic “checkup,” one that is particularly relevant and useful during the Lenten season.
St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) wrote The Spiritual Exercises, a compilation of meditations, prayers and contemplative practices that included “The Examen,” a daily way to put into practice Paul’s admonition to “test yourselves.”
He made a twice-daily Examen one of the few rules of prayer required of Jesuits (the Society of Jesus, the order he founded). Jesuits practice the Examen at noon and at the end of the day.
One of the ways to enrich your observance of Lent this year is to practice a Lunchtime Examen online. To try it, pause at noontime (or anytime that fits your schedule) to review your day in the presence of God. You'll be prompted to click through a series of screens one by one, prayerfully and thoughtfully, at your own pace.
The program offers six different Examens, giving you the option to do one a day for six days in a row, before taking a Sunday break, perhaps, and starting over on Monday.
So try this way of encountering God during Lent and share your experience below.