Fr. Michael continues his series on the Ignatian Examen today. Let’s read about Examen’s practice of gratitude. How can you incorporate this important task into your life? What are you thankful for today?
Step 2 – Giving Thanks
After beginning the Examen by Seeking Light, we move to Giving Thanks. Ignatius saw gratitude as central to the spiritual life. He felt this so strongly that he said: “Ingratitude is the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sin.”
Regardless of our financial condition, social status, or personal accomplishment, Ignatius wants us to see ourselves as poor in relation to God. We are to be “poor in spirit,” as Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount.
We are to resist the temptations of taking things for granted, of looking at what we don’t have instead of what we do have, and of feeling entitled to things. Instead, we are to recall each day all that God has done for us.
In this crucial step of the Examen, we recall simple and special blessings:
• the new day of life itself;
• food and even our appetite to eat;
• our job and being able to provide for ourselves and our family;
• good health, or medical care when we are sick;
• a house to live in, along with heat or air conditioning and furniture;
• family members and friends, those whom we love and who love us;
• faith and hope;
• a day off, a weekend away, a vacation.
As we look back in the morning upon the previous day or look back in the evening at the day just ended, we need to be as personal and as concrete as possible in giving thanks to God.
“Such gratitude is a window into the deepest truth about ourselves – that we are caught up in a relationship with a loving God who is generous beyond our imagining…. Gratitude…[is] the essence of our spiritual condition”
~Father Michael Schleupner
1st quotation from a letter written by Ignatius of Loyola dated March 18, 1542.
2nd quotation from A Simple Life-Changing Prayer – Discovering the Power of St. Ignatius Loyola’s Examen” by Jim Manney.