Lenten Blog Week 3
This week on our Lenten Journey, we take up another of the lenses that the Daily Examine Prayer of Ignatius of Loyola offers to us. At the end of each day, he asks us to become aware of the presence of God. Next, we:
Review the day with gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.
Jesus came to wake us up to the reality of the presence of God. Jesus came to revive us. And if we are going to accept Jesus’ spiritual CPR, that revival is going to change everything about us. From the moment we accept the life-giving, resuscitating breath of God, our lives begin to be transformed. That transformation is the very proof that God exists. We know God is active in our lives; we know we are in relationship with Jesus because our lives begin to change in ways that would simply be impossible if it were not for the presence of God.
When we begin to experience the active presence of Jesus in our lives, we realize we are breathing in the Spirit. We begin to breathe in the infinite ways to experience God, and particular worship norms and particular rules are no longer the only path to God. We become more open to God in the variety of life. It is in this variety that we experience God. However, this experience takes training. This is what we do at the end of the day as we examine our day. We are training ourselves to recognize the presence of God.
What training ourselves in practicing the presence of God will do, is bring us intimately into God’s presence throughout the week. Pastors often hear people say they come to church to get filled up so they can face the next week. Actually, God wants the opposite to happen. God wants us to be so filled with the Spirit throughout the week, our natural response is to join our church community in worship. In other words, we go to worship to rejoice in the God we have experienced throughout the week. That is the relationship that Jesus offers to us. That is the relationship we will experience when we begin training ourselves to recognize God’s presence in every moment.