Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.
Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved towards serenity? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.
Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.
Read in the Bible Jesus’ Praise of the Father (Matt. 11:25-30)
Allow Jesus to speak directly to you, allowing him to know your heart in a more intimate way.
At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:25-30)
Jesus speaks and praises the Father, acknowledging that he has done many unexpected things. God’s love knows no bounds. Sometimes we might have regrets, anxieties, or other forms of suffering that prevent us from accepting Christ’s invitation to find rest for our souls. Jesus does not condemn anyone for struggling with their burdens or for becoming tired from carrying them. He simply lovingly invites anyone who is exhausted from the journey to stop, look to him, and rest.
Notice that Jesus is speaking directly to you. He is saying, “Come to me, all of you.” Jesus sees who you are and loves you intimately. There is no need to hide any part of yourself; you are free to truly be you in his presence.
Read the passage again, imagining Jesus looking at you with great love and speaking these words to you. What burden does he invite you to bring to him? What is it that you desire to learn from Jesus?
Jesus wants to share your burdens. As you reflect upon the incident you chose for your examen, think about what would happen if you invited him into your heart to see your daily struggles. Christ can carry them for you. Will you accept his invitation to find rest?
God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward serenity.
Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for times when you have resisted serenity in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater peace through God’s grace.
Identify one step toward becoming a more serene person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more serene person.