Prodigal Kiwis series..
“One of the core practices I would include in a community rule or covenant is listening / discernment.
“Esther de Waal reminds us that â€œwe are essentially rhythmic creatures and [our lives] need â€¦rhythm and balance if [they are not to be drained of] the precious possibility of being or becoming our whole selves.â€ â€œUnless we take this [need] seriouslyâ€ she says, â€œwe are going to reduce the amount of ourselves that is actually there and available to usâ€ (from Seeking God, p. 93).
“The Examen, above all other practices of discernment, enables us to acquire the important habit of reflecting on our lives; reflecting on our contexts in the company of God and learning how to read the maps of self and place. This is to grow in discernment â€“ to grow in our ability to see and experience God in our consciousness and unconsciousness. It is to grow in our ability to recognise and hear the â€œstill small voiceâ€ (1 Kings 19:12). Finally we could say, with Ignatius, that doing the Examen is a response of love and a willingness â€œto strive to move my heart toward what [is] pleasing to God.â€
“Now, as promised, an example of an Examen of Consciousness (see Andrew Walkerâ€™s essay from yesterday / part 1 of this series of three posts, here) for why we should understand this as an examination of â€œconsciousnessâ€ rather than â€œconscienceâ€). The primary source of what follows is the little booklet Reflective Practice for Spiritual Directors by Anne Long.