Reviewing the Feelings of Our Day

opera stageReviewing the events of our day, either to thank God or to know our sins, is familiar enough. Reviewing the feelings that those events generate is a new approach for many people. A good way to begin is, “Lord, where have I heard your voice, and how have I responded?”

Sometimes a strong emotion immediately surfaces. I was deeply saddened to get a letter from the son of an old friend telling me of her death. I was furious with the taxi driver who insisted on dropping me off four blocks from my destination. Emotions are not a matter of choice, but how we react to them is. Do I thank God for Kathy’s friendship? Can I convey that gratitude in a letter of condolence to her son? Why was I so furious with the taxi driver? Did this trivial occurrence trigger some deeper anger that I have not identified or addressed? What do I want to say to God about these feelings? Can I listen to what God is saying to me?

Sometimes the prayer reveals responses to grace that may surprise us. On a recent opera tour, the woman sitting next to me—whom I had met the day before but did not know well—asked me three times whether the opera we were seeing was a new production. The second time, I was surprised to feel compassion well up in me as I realized what had caused her to keep repeating the question. Not long ago, I might have been merely annoyed. While there is no way to explain a grace of this kind, the practice of the Examen illuminates God’s gifts and, I believe, makes us readier to respond.

—Excerpted from God Isn’t Finished with Me Yet by Barbara Lee

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  1. I was so angry at a young male who flipped me off at a 4-way stop when I had the right of way. I realized that I was really angry at my own body’s betrayal, as I had been diagnosed with cancer a few days before, which would require major surgery and a prolonged recovery period.

  2. As an “over 60” person I find myself tearing up at the sometimes smallest things. I cried nearly all the way through the Royal wedding this past Saturday. My husband couldn’t understand it but I was reacting as a joyful mother watching a blessed event. I was also thinking of Diana and how proud she would have been of Harry and Megan. Reading your piece reminds me that perhaps my unexpected tears are a reminder from Jesus of the MANY blessings that occur each and every day.

  3. The approach you outline is so helpful. I don’t want to just get stuck in the feeling. Asking, “Lord, where have I heard your voice and how have I responded?” offers a productive way to “listen”
    to the feelings with the ears (and heart) of God.

  4. It is such a grace when we feel compassion in a situation that has the potential to be annoying! Thanks for recognizing that. Blessings!


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