Examen- practicing attentiveness

By Dave Henning / August 11, 2013

As Leighton Ford concludes Chapter 9 of The Attentive Life, he relates a well-know story told by the authors of Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life.  During World War II thousands of orphaned children were placed in refugee camps, where they were safe from the bombs raining down on Europe.   Although they were fed, the children had trouble going to sleep at night because they feared there would be nothing to eat when they awoke- starvation had been a real threat before coming to the camps.  Finally, someone thought of giving the children a small piece of bread before bedtime.  They fell asleep holding on to their piece of bread.

The authors use this story to suggest ending the day with examenExamen originally was recommended by Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises.  The authors of Sleeping with Bread ask variations of the following two questions: (1) Where did I sense God most today?; and (2) Where did I miss Him?

Essentially examen is a reminder to be grateful for Jesus, the Bread of Life who sustains us at the ending as well as at the beginning of our lives.  This contemplation is of great importance, as Singapore-born writer Hwee Hwee Tang notes in her commentary on 2 Corinthians 3: 18- ” . . . you are what your mind looks at.  You are what you contemplate.”

Today’s question: How has focusing on God’s presence helped you in your faith journey toward healing and revitalization of God’s calling?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Bound together in God’s love”

About the author

Dave Henning

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