An Examen for Ash Wednesday

From Ashes to Glory: An Examen for Ash Wednesday
This is the first in a series of posts “From Ashes to Glory.”

The Word

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

—Matthew 6:5-8

Reflect

I am created in the image of a God who is One. I am unique. The Father loves me personally. I thank God for who I am.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

What I have done?
Did I do what I had planned?
What happened that wasn’t planned? How did I respond?
What did my heart tell me?

4. Anything Wrong?

Have I been anxious? Sad? Focused on myself?
Does something in a relationship need to be addressed?
Have I been ungrateful?

5. What Now?

What do I need from God today?
What do I need to do today? Tomorrow?

Prayer

When I go now to my inner room,
God my Father, Creator of my inmost self,
I go with ashes on my forehead and in my soul
for what I have done
and for the little love I return to You.
Is it repentance enough that I accept as mine
the burden laid on all of us by all of us?
May I embrace as my own and offer to You
the sufferings of the world that invade my day—
the child in terror, the man without work,
the woman wrapped in oppression and disdain?
Let me feel the grief that weighed like lead on Jesus’ heart
and know His unyielding love for me.
Amen.

About Joseph Tetlow, SJ 16 Articles
Joseph A. Tetlow, SJ, is currently the director of the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas. A former head of the Jesuit general’s Secretariat for Ignatian Spirituality, he has also served as president of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, professor of theology at Saint Louis University, and associate editor of America magazine. He has written numerous articles and books, including Choosing Christ in the World and Making Choices in Christ.

4 Comments on An Examen for Ash Wednesday

  1. Thank you for existing. I am an IVC volunteer and recieved the invtation to check out your resources for Lent. You made my day. I was able to start this journey with focus and direction.
    I am the breath of God. My actions speak to my desire to live true to God’s will for me and for the Kingdom here and now.
    Love, Freedom and Purpose say it all. I have been called. I do not fear. I know my God loves me. I am grateful to be present.
    I just concluded my day with my Examin. I am grateful for today. I am hopeful for tomorrow and all that it brings. I am striving to be fully alive. My life is my prayer. Thank you.

  2. This Lent I hope for new beginnings. To acknowledge peoples talents,abiltites and daily struggles. I think we look for heros, and when those heros dissapoint us, because they are human it feels like everything is lost.John the Bapist thank you , for bring us all closer to Jesus.

    Fikile, South Africa

  3. thank you for the postings, I have found the earlier pieces very helpful for the small refection groups in our parish community. This lent and the invitation to mercy in action… these refection will definitely nourish our communities prayer and response to ministries.

  4. This examined is just what I needed today. I am familiar withFr John Tetlow. I have used Choosing Christ in the world as I. Have us ed many times helping people do the 19th anotatioin.

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