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The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today Paperback – August 1, 2006
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To begin to "lift the veil," which can also be said to "dis"-cover, we need "awareness" and "understanding." Only then can we take appropriate "action." The fact that Father Gallagher uses this book to present us with simply "one" of the "practices" in the discernment process, underlines its importance. It's called "The Examen Prayer," or simply an Examen. Saint Ignatius of Loyola (and many other saints after him) recommended that we become more "aware" with an "Examen." An examen is not an examination of conscience, but rather a general analysis or survey of our day and done at least once a day. We look over our day, its events, persons and circumstances and allow them to pop to the surface of our mind, permitting us to understand them. Our feelings can help indicate what God desires for us in our life. We notice our reactions during meetings, encounters with others, work, spending time with kids, doing volunteer work, praying--whatever! Do we feel joyful, drawn to God, full of faith and hope? Or, do we feel sad, depressed, a sense that God is far away? Our feelings are an indication of whether we are moving towards or away from God. Our feelings are the "tip of the iceberg," whereby we can search deeper. Once we notice whether our feelings (which might have led to actions) are moving us towards God or away from Him, we can identify real opportunities offered by the Lord to "dis"-cover Him or as ones in which we did not recognize Him. Over time, we begin to see patterns and reoccurrences of things that then help us to "dis"-cover our greatest weakness. We recognize this as God calling us to a deeper conversion. We then use these to make the necessary corrections. We can therefore make decisions about our life that bring us to feel drawn to fuller faith, greater hope, and joy-filled peace. We can see this accomplishing what Saint Ignatius taught, "easing and taking away all obstacles, so that the person (we) may go forward in doing good." The "Examen" sharpens our awareness and understanding to better succeed in this.
The biggest challenge I think we all face is incorporating or firmly integrating the Examen into daily lives. This book will go a long way to help us face that challenge.
This book is a beautiful guide to an Ignatian form of prayer that Ignatius of Loyola suggested as a part of his spiritual exercises. Gallagher suggest that it is essential to understanding whether or not you are growing in your relationship with God. I had thought that Ignatian spirituality involved contemplation leading to action. Gallagher correctly suggest that it is contemplative in action. The intent of the examen is to help us see where God is in our life, and where we did not see God in our life. Gallagher gives us a very practical guide on this. Highly recommend!
The Kindle edition does not work on my iPad or iPhone. It does work on my first generation Kindle. After reading one chapter I found that I could not go beyond that page without the app crashing. Also, I cannot go to the Table of Contents.
I called Amazon where I was told they would escalate the problem to the technical staff, but they could provide no target date for a fix. This was over a week ago, and it still crashes even after reloading it from the Manage My Kindle site.
If your are using an iPad or iPhone, proceed with caution, or buy it in book form.