A New Year Dawns... - Reflection by Dean Sue
Read Dean Sue's blog post for Thursday, 31 December, 2020.
This last day of 2020 gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past year. You may say that we do not need to reflect as the year has been dominated by the Covid 19 pandemic. That of course is true, but while there have been significant challenges and sadness to the year, there have also been some positives, although sadly the positives get forgotten in the negatives. The leader of the Jesuit religious community, St Ignatius of Loyola, recognised this and so each evening he encouraged his followers to undertake what he called the Examen. St Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift from God, and wanted it to be shared as widely as possible.
There are five steps to the Examen:
1. Give thanks
Spend a few moments in gratitude for the gifts and blessings of the day.
2. Ask for Light
Ask God to enlighten you, showing where God has been at work and present in your day through events, people and places.
3. Examine the Day
Review the moments of the day, noticing what led to consolation (goodness that leads to God) and what had led to desolation (not good, when we are wrapped up in ourselves) and the reactions within you to these events, people and places.
4. Seek forgiveness
Ask God’s forgiveness for the times when you have acted, spoken or thought contrary to God’s Grace and calling for you.
5. Resolve to change
Decide what in your behaviour or attitude you will try to improve tomorrow
In the Cathedral over the past month we have been doing a form of the Examen at our weekly diary meeting so that people can see that, although a lot of what we planned was cancelled due to Covid and the restrictions placed upon us, we did so much more than we realised and that God was in all our plans.
As we look over the year we have seen so much sadness with so many deaths from Covid, and so much sadness in relation to the lack of respect and human dignity towards black people and elderly people. While we rightly lament this, we have also seen the kindness of strangers as people have respond to the situation by giving selflessly of themselves as front line workers. We have also seen how humanity cares for humanity through the Black Lives Matter campaign and the raising of funds for charity. We only have to think of Sir Captain Tom, Marcus Rashford, Kevin Sinfield and hundreds of others who have raised millions of pounds to help others.
As a New Year dawns, do please undertake the Ignatian Examen and reflect on where you have seen God’s hands at work in our world.
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of our prayer blog, Prayer for Liverpool: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.