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Posts Tagged ‘#givethanks’

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 6.54.35 AM.pngIn Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving this coming weekend.

It is my most favourite holiday of the year, for it is always good to be reminded to give thanks … and there is always something to be thankful for.

Over the past number of weeks I have encountered, in a handful of places and ways, St. Ignatius’ prayer of Examen, and I find it to be a good outline for sincerely thankful prayer.

Ignatius of Loyola was born, in Spain, in the late fourteen hundreds and lived into the mid fifteen hundreds. He was a Catholic Priest who founded the Jesuits. The Prayer of Examen is from his book The Spiritual Exercises.

The Prayer of Examen is not rote but is reflective and personal/intimate.

The steps and order of prayer are as follows (from http://www.ignatianspirituality.com):

1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.

Basically one starts out seeking God’s presence. Really this is more about us entering consciously, into his presence, then it is he entering into ours, for he is always with us … we simply are not always aware of this fact.

Then you look over your day, noticing all in it that you are thankful for.

Though we Christians do not normally put much stock into our emotions, and many would even say to not trust them. Yet God can speak to us in our feelings of joy, sorrow, melancholy, fear and anger. He may even awaken us, through the noting of our emotions of the day, to act in some way.

Then, choose one specific part of the day, it will come to you, to specifically pray about. Perhaps it will prompt to make an apology, a confession, a dinner for a friend in need.

Finally, pray for the day to come. For strength, for courage, for wisdom.

(click here for more details on how to pray the Examen).

Basically such reflective, personal prayer can not only be relevant when praying, but throughout the day, as our reflections begin to make us aware of God’s presence in all of our days. We can become sensitive to God’s presence in our life, in our days, not just when our head is bowed, or hands lifted in praise but when we are paying the bills, running kids to soccer and dance, standing in line at the grocery store.

It can convert us to followers of God who are intimately aware of his presence in every part of our day,  not just the times we bow our heads.

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Sometimes thankfulness is big, and loud and proud. It might be accompanied by cards, flowers and public proclamation. It might make our chests expand with pride, and our cheeks redden with humble acceptance.

Then, there are the other times when it’s barely a whisper, said under an autumn sky, with  only the company of leaves blowing from the trees and across the grass.

The later was my experience of giving thanks this past Thanksgiving Monday.

At almost 3:00 in the afternoon, I was still wearing my pyjamas, but the scent of the turkey in my oven was beginning to waft out and into the house. The table was set for seven. Vegetables were ready to be cooked, appys were ready to be heated and the house was cleaned.

All that was left to do was … plant the bulbs that had been sitting in a container on my counter for about two months (who does this in the midst of preparing a turkey dinner?).

So outside I went (in my pjs), sat down on the steps, and proceeded to plant the bulbs in an awaiting planter.

Then I looked up.

And the cloudless, indigo sky took my breath away.

And the sun was shining on my face.

And the leaves were floating through the air.

And the wind lightly caressed my face.

And,

I gave thanks.

No announcements, no microphone, no eloquent words, or poetic reference,

I. just. gave. thanks.

From, not just the bottom, but the entirety of my heart.

The beauty of the Creator, reflected in the beauty of his creation.

The blessing of my senses, intended to draw my focus back to him.

The simplest, most mundane and undervalued of life, took the breath of life from my lungs momentarily, only to refill them with the freshest, most life-giving, soul-feeding inhalation.

just. give. thanks.

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

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