Join Theresa Denny, Spiritual Director with JISA Campion, who guides us in this Ecological Examen for 2022.
Please use the player below to listen to the audio
Welcome to this time of reviewing the year of 2022. This has been a challenging year in many ways for many people – externally and internally, personally, and professionally. Throughout the year our country has experienced fires, floods, and drought. Our environment has suffered and continues to suffer. Many families and businesses have been impacted by these events.
The Examen is a call – a personal invitation to take time to reflect from the deep place of your heart. This personal invitation is about deepening our relationship with God in every aspect of our life. Our relationship with God takes time, and in that relationship, we’re called to conversion – to a change of mind and heart. The beauty of the Examen is that it takes repetition and time to go into the depth of our heart, to develop a more personal and intimate relationship with God, in whose image and likeness we have been created.
In using the Examen to review this year I suggest that you take your time in moving through each of the five steps. I invite you to press the pause button to spend an extended period of time on each step; that you pause and allow the Spirit, to guide you. Ask God to inform you about what gave you life throughout 2022. Gift yourself with the time to ponder some significant experiences that occurred throughout the year.
In Laudato Si Pope Francis states: ‘If we approach nature and the environment without openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.’
We each have a God given responsibility as co-creators and caretakers of this earth, and all within it, to protect and care for all that we have been gifted with. I hope and believe, that we are awakening to a deeper sense of wonder and awe at the mystery, creativity, and sacredness of creation.
To deepen this sense of wonder and awe with creation I will guide you through an Ecological Examen to reflect on how I use what God has given. And to find an answer to the question: Am I helping or hurting the planet in the events of my everyday life?
Noel Davis poem Ease into the Silence (and surrender to the Stillness) invites us to: ‘Come into the quiet and be gracious with time and yourself. Take off your thoughts, anxieties, expectations and lay them aside. Ease into the Silence and surrender to the Stillness. Lose yourself in being.’
As we begin to review the year, Invite the Spirit to guide you as you enter into the ‘Silence and Surrender to this time of Stillness.’
Begin by expressing gratitude as you recall those moments, throughout the year when you have consciously been aware of and enjoyed being part of God’s creation, wherever the year may have taken you.
I ask for the grace and insight to see creation as God does. Where have you been most aware of God’s presence in your environment as you begin reviewing your year.
Take time to review, and come to a greater understanding, by acknowledging the challenges and joys you may have experienced, as you recall how you cared for the gift of creation in various contexts throughout the year. Especially notice if you have been drawn towards God or away from God and notice how this may have affected your actions and your responses at the time.
In response to this new insight, notice what needs further loving attention to develop a greater appreciation of relationship with creation in my environment. How can I address these in some small way – in my family and community?
In moving forward into a new year, I ask for the grace to reconcile my relationship with God, creation, and humanity – to hear more deeply the ‘cry of the earth and the poor.’ How can I improve my attitude towards my relationship with creation and make consistent choices to bring about change in my life – no matter how small – for a better world?
Let us conclude our time together with the prayer from Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’:
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth
who are so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
Please use the player below to listen to the audio
With thanks to Theresa Denny for this Ecological Examen. Theresa is a Spiritual Director with JISA Campion and for the Emmaus Spirituality Ministry in the Diocese of Sale in Gippsland VIC. Mother to a son and daughter and Gran to two girls, Theresa loves travelling in her campervan throughout Australia in her retirement years.