This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.
When I was in second grade, I kept a diary. It had a shiny purple cover, a tiny lock and key, and lined pages where I diligently listed what I did each day. This diary became the first of many I would later fill, and I would gradually add worn and well-loved journals (and a few empty ones) to my bookshelves. This collection of journals contains both the mundane, ordinary happenings of daily life as well as my deepest wonderings.
Because this second week of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure focuses on the Examen, I find myself wanting to review my filled diaries and journals. The Examen invites us into a similar process as journaling does—to look back over the raw material of our everyday lives, to reflect on God’s presence in it, and to choose to cooperate with God through our concrete, lived experience. As we make this a daily practice, we begin to see patterns, threads, and our role in the larger story that we are co-authoring with God.
When I was a senior at Boston College, I took a theology course called Praying Our Stories, which explored God’s presence in the everyday experiences and circumstances of our lives. Our capstone project for the class was to write a spiritual autobiography, our own story of faith. An avid journaler at the time, I turned to my entries to guide my story and was suddenly disappointed by their mundaneness, wishing I had a more interesting or action-packed story to share with my class.
This week, during my reflections, I have remembered how often I still fall into this thinking—that God is only found in extraordinary moments of dramatic transcendence. But I have also found renewed consolation. The Examen reminds me that God meets us just where we are: around the table, in the line at the grocery store, in our relationships, while walking to the bus stop, in the silence of the morning or evening, and throughout all our “coming and going” (Psalm 121).