As we continue our journey through the Lenten wilderness, we begin to acknowledge and utilize what is most essential for the journey ahead. This week, we use the metaphor of the compass, a reminder to re-orient our lives toward God and seek God’s directions.
“We must turn the compass point of the heart back again to where God waits for us, arms open, full of mercy, made of love, to be our own best selves- not for our own sake alone- but for the sake of the rest of the world.” -Joan Chittister, Monastery of the Heart
“I had a grand plan to write out all these steps you can take to keep God at the center of your life … but I can boil it all down to one phrase … Keep Choosing God. In every situation, no matter how dull, how seemingly unimportant … Keep Choosing God! As Nouwen instructs … eat for God, drink for God, work for God, play for God, speak for God and write for God. We must live every single moment in God’s presence. There is not a moment where we are out of God’s presence, whether we’re taking out the trash or preaching a sermon to a packed church! God is always there for us, with us and in us. Whenever we feel disoriented or we feel like God is distant, it is not God who has moved away from us, but we who have moved away from God! Constantly reorient yourself to God. Constantly seek God’s presence in your life. Constantly put God at the center. Keep Choosing God!” -Candace Chellew
“God says to you, ‘I love you, I am with you, I want to see you come closer to me and experience the joy and peace of my presence. I want to give you a new heart and a new spirit. I want you to speak with my mouth, see with my eyes, hear with my ears, touch with my hands. All that is mine is yours. Just trust me and let me be your God.’” -Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
How have you been disoriented in your spiritual life?
What does “choosing God” look like in your life? How is God inviting you to draw closer?
Examen in Action
The prayer of examen (St. Ignatius) is a prayer that helps us look back and examine how our lives have been oriented and disoriented toward Divine Presence. This week, we invite you into a prayer of examen in action.
There are a couple ways to do this, depending on what is most conducive to your lifestyle. These are suggestions, or you may come up with your own idea to help you actively focus on God’s presence throughout your day.
- Choose three times during the day and set an alarm on your watch, phone, or just notice a clock. When each of those three times arrives in your day, ask yourself how God is present in that moment and how you can choose God right then and there, whether at work or school, with family or friends, or completely alone.
- Place an object in your pocket for a day that wouldn’t normally be there- a piece of paper, prayer beads, a small stone, etc. Each time you notice this object or reach down and feel it, ask yourself how God is present in that moment and how you can choose God right then and there, whether at work or school, with family or friends, or completely alone.
Allow your encounters to be shaped through the lens of this special attention to God’s presence. If your alarm buzzes or you feel the stone in your pocket in a moment of frustration, ask yourself what it means in that exact moment and situation to choose God. Do the same in moments of boredom and moments of joy. Notice how it feels to draw closer, to orient yourself toward God, throughout your day.