There is a wellspring of things to offer to God and receive from him by simply looking at your life. This prayer never seems to get old because life is so full and God is so active. Here is my version of this “examen” or “reviewing of my day with God.” Most of it was passed on to me by some great Jesuits. 5-7 minutes is an ideal amount of time for this prayer but depending upon circumstances, it can take between 30 seconds to 30 minutes. Whether you pray with words, feelings or images, lift up everything to God, bringing your life into the loving Light of Christ. Periodically you can adapt this to review a certain season in your life instead of just a day.
Prayerful Review of the Day
Pray for Light
- Ask that you can look at this day and offer it to God in His grace.
- “Holy Spirit, please enlighten my mind so I may see this day you gave me in truth and love.”
From this day, for what am I most thankful? / What gifts did God give today?/ Where do I see God’s grace active in this day?
- Converse with Jesus about these things and listen to what these good things mean in your life.
- “Thank you… Jesus, you are… This is special because…”
- Allow gratitude to well up. Offer it back to the Father with love.
From this day, for what am I least thankful? / What needs to be converted?/ What was a challenge?
- Converse with Jesus about these things and listen to what needs healing.
- “Please forgive me… I’m sad… Please help…”
- Offer it back to the Father with love.
Tomorrow with Christ
- Converse with Jesus about how God wants to (or has already) equip you for tomorrow.
- “What concept, scripture verse or resolution shall I carry in my heart for tomorrow?”
- Make a tiny resolution about your own action for tomorrow. Ask for God’s grace to fulfill it.
If prayer is like breath for our souls, then in life we need to learn how to breath underwater. As a mom, it can feel like my duties are overwhelming and a few minutes kneeling after Mass is a respite for my soul. It can feel like I am swimming underwater and then coming to the surface and gasping for air, getting just enough and then diving into the deep again. But when I am feeling this way, I know I need to adjust my perspective. Yes, I need to have certain moments during the day of special kinds of prayer but,… prayer and life are not two separate things. We have to pray our life. Our duties, our joys, sorrows, experiences all become prayer. Or rather, we fill them all with the breath of God and they are given as prayer. We have to learn to breath underwater. We do not hold our breath in our chaos, our dinners, our work, our driving, our relationships, our maintenance, our shopping. We find the oxygen underwater. We find God in all of it. We breath underwater.
Early on I got some advice from a lady who always seems to be full of joy and on the verge of learning something new. “Delight in your children” and later she added, “and they will be delightful”. I love this advice. There are so many things embedded in it. It says, parenting can be fun, relaxing- delightful! Children are worthy of awe- of our delight. Children are full of surprises! It says, life is good and you are free to enjoy it. It also has resounding principle in the goodness of people. It says, there is always something wonderful in children – in people. Find that. Think about that. Enjoy that. Dwell on that. Certainly, however, our kids will not always delight us. Far from it. Certainly that needs to be addressed frequently and acknowledged but as a general disposition and practice- delight is the way to go,just as our heavenly father delights in His children.
There is also a positive influence on the child when a parent finds delight, Don’t you feel better, kinder, more confident, happier, bigger people when you think that others are enjoying your presence? Same is true for our kids, of course. And conversely, we are better parents when we are delighting in our children. This is true in the classroom as well. The whole atmosphere of the classroom is elevated when the teacher truly is delighted by her students.
It reminds me of St. Paul’s advice to the Philippians “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
What is delightful about your children?
As the seasons tick by I am amazed that some of the things that previously seemed invaluable to our family’s learning don’t seem to be present any more. Or the favorite conversations that used to take place no longer do. When the old ways are forced on again, sometimes it “works” and sometimes what was beautiful and spontaneous has become a chore. Upon reflection, it is easy to see the new growth that is taking place instead. While there are some things that are stable (like Mass every Sunday, prayer before meals, helping out and using a kind tone with each other) for many other things, “surfing” seems to be the best way to bring just the right thing at a high point or paddle people along at a low point. I find this to be true in the classroom as well as the family. If I keep the end goal in mind, I can grab hold of whatever is appropriate at the time to help us successfully ride the waves of life, emotion and development. Interestingly, St. Teresa of Avila indicates that this also seems to be true of our own souls. That in the spiritual life, listening to the waves and tide of the Holy Spirit and the growth of our inner being is as important if not more than holding to this practice or to that.
I’ve wondered for years how to figure out how many calories a day kids need and today I came across this ratio on SFGate.com:
If your child is within a healthy weight range, you can use his body weight to help estimate his calorie needs. According to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, infants need 41 to 55 calories per pound of body weight, 1- to 7-year-olds require 34 to 41 calories per pound, kids ages 7 to 12 need 27 to 34 calories per pound and pre-teens and teens ages 12 to 18 require 14 to 27 calories per pound of body weight each day.
Since we need nutrition rich calories for our bodies, why not for our souls too? How many Christ calories a day does a kid need?
Disclaimer- I know I’m not mainstream on this one. If I’m driving you crazy on this but other parts of this site are helpful, please let it slide.
As useful as technology is, using screens for kids under four is going to hurt more than it helps. Teaching reading, mathematics, science and other subjects can all be done very well in a more hands on, tactile and relational way without creating unhealthy synapse and changing the way the brain develops.