Examen on Gratitude

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 to gratitude? 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 the Curing of the Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19)

Allow Jesus to reach out to you in your deepest need, communicating to you his care and his power healing.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

This healing story of Jesus is different from many of his other miracles because the Lord is not actually physically present when the lepers are healed. They were walking to see the priests, as Jesus had instructed, when they were made clean. Caught up in the joy of their miracle, all but one of the lepers continued on their way to live a new life of health.

This situation is easily relatable. How often we pray, asking God for a special favor or grace, knowing that we greatly need it. Then, once we receive it, we start living our new life of grace, forgetting to thank God for empowering us to live each moment.

Read through this passage again, recalling the incident you chose for your examen.

As you think about the situation or reaction you brought to this examen, do you see that God gave you any grace in that moment? How did you react? Did you go about living with the new grace as though nothing had happened, or did you turn around to praise God?

Gratitude is essential for the Christian life and for maintaining a relationship with God. God gives grace to sustain you in each moment; when you recognize and thank God for the gift of his love, you are filled with the joy and peace of knowing that you are his beloved son or daughter. How do you feel when someone sincerely thanks you for something you have done for them? How could your relationship with God grow through expressing gratitude for his gifts?

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 gratitude.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any lack of gratitude in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater gratitude through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more grateful person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more grateful person.

Image by marthaartess from Cathopic

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