Jesus in Our Midst – Reflection for 15 April 2018
During this season of Easter, we read several accounts of Jesus appearing to His disciples. One of the common threads in these accounts is the way in which Jesus is suddenly with them or in some way revealed to them in a surprising and perhaps frightening way. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus travels and talks with Cleopas and his friend and is not recognized until they sit down for dinner. In our Gospel today, we hear about the encounter as these disciples return to Jerusalem to tell their friends and all of a sudden they recognize Jesus in their midst as He greets them, “Peace be with You.” I wonder how often I have journeyed distracted by my own problems and not recognized Jesus with me, or how many times Jesus has stood near me and offered Peace while I remained oblivious.
Our collect today petitions God to grant us “grace thankfully to receive” and the ability to “daily follow.” Much like Jesus unrecognized among the disciples, I wonder how often this prayer has been answered in my life without me knowing it. Perhaps the daily practice of examen can place us in a position to recognize, receive, and follow. The examen is a simple brief prayer of listening and noticing God’s grace in the midst of our daily lives so that we can receive this grace in thankfulness. The examen consists of five prayerful movements:
1. We begin by offering God our thanksgiving for gifts received
Lord thank you for all your gifts and especially for ____________________
2. We continue by asking for light to understand and appreciate the graces of the day and openness to receive what may lie in darkness
May the light of your Holy Spirit guide me as I look upon this day. Help me to remember the ways in which I knew you were near me and help me to see the times that I was unaware of your presence.
3. Then we ask for God’s guidance as we reflect on the events of day-
I am conscious of your presence when ___________________
When I ________________________ I prevented myself from recognizing you with me
4. Now we turn to relationships, where do we need God’s grace to extend or seek forgiveness and reconciliation?
My relationship with ________________ is damaged, Lord. By your grace, show me how to extend and receive forgiveness, peace, and reconciliation.
5. We conclude with a hopeful resolution for the future
Now may I walk aware of your presence the rest of this day especially ________________________
There are a number of other variations on the daily examen, and there’s even an app for that (search “Reimagining the Examen” in your App Store).