Examen: Learning to be grateful

I’ve recently learned about two very useful questions to ask of myself.  

1/ For what moment today am I most grateful?
2/ For what moment today am I least grateful?

These two questions of St Ignatius’ examen is a practical tool for daily inner reflection.  I’m going to answer these two here today and share my answer with you.

1/  On my spiritual retreat last week, I took some time to examine and reflect on my own life.  It was a time of spiritual rejuvenation.  

I was most grateful this week for the opportunity to return to listening to praise and worship music. I hadn’t taken the time to sit down and listen to the new music from recent artists and groups like Hillsong. I didn’t know the new stuff that was being played in our contemporary evangelical churches. Anyone else out there been through periods of not having listened to new worship songs but do appreciate the music?  It’s been a dry period for me in the past. But now I’ve been refreshed through new music.  I took the opportunity to reflect on the words of numerous worship songs and was really blessed and nourished by them.  For this precious time, I was most grateful.

2/ For what I was least grateful that day was having my wife go through surgery.  She had go fly to Taiwan in order to get surgery that otherwise, would’ve taken a very long time to receive here in Canada. She already had to wait for many months. We have a broken health care system and my fear is that it will get worse in the future as the population ages.  Anyway, through my self-reflection and self-examination, I realized I still had much to be thankful for.  Her mother, and her sister in Taiwan took some time off work to care for her during and after surgery.  This is very big help. I’m thankful for this. So in what I had thought I was least grateful, I realized that I still had things for which to be grateful.

Reflecting on these two questions helped me realize that I had more to be thankful for than I had thought.  Thank you God for your grace, mercy, and blessings.
___________________________

Recently at my spiritual retreat I came across another book entitled, Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life, by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn (Paulist Press, 1995). A good brief book that explained to me how and why the Examen helps. I add this below as added reference.

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