Prayer as Sanity and Balance
Genuine prayer, in effect, fills us with divine energy and tells us at the same time that this energy isn’t our own; that it works through us, but that it’s not us. To be healthy, we need both: If we lose connection to divine energy we drain of energy, depress, and feel empty. Conversely if we let divine energy flow into us but identify with it, somehow thinking that it is our own, we become grandiose, inflate with self-importance and arrogance, and become selfish and destructive.
Deep prayer is what energizes us and grounds us, both at the same time. We see this, for example, in a person like Mother Teresa, who was bursting with creative energy but was always very clear that this energy did not come from her, but from God, and she was merely a humble human instrument.
Lack of real prayer makes for two kinds of antithesis to Mother Teresa: On the one hand, it makes for a wonderfully talented and energetic man or woman who is full of creative energy, but is also full of grandiosity and ego; or, on the other hand, it makes for a man or woman who feels empty and flat and cannot radiate any positive energy.
Without prayer we will forever be bouncing back and forth between grandiosity and depression.
Without prayer we will always be either too empty of energy or too full of ourselves.
(Fr. Ron Rolheiser OMI)
The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.
The method presented here is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God, and that God wanted it to be shared as widely as possible. One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.
This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.
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.
For more information see http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/consciousness-examen