As I’ve said before, part of my daily prayer is the Examen, a way of prayerfully reflecting on the events of one’s day in order to detect God’s presence.
One of the important parts of the examen is to review one’s day in thanksgiving, to, as Dennis Hamm, S.J. explains it, “[w]alk through the past 24 hours, from hour to hour, from place to place, task to task, person to person, thanking the Lord for every gift you encounter.”
When I was first taught the examen, it was suggested to me that Ignatius encouraged us to be quite specific in articulating those things for which we are grateful. The idea is to give thanks for all of the blessings of the day….down to very little things like a cool breeze on a hot day, or the taste of jam on our toast.
Parts of my hike yesterday, particularly those where I was in the sun, were really hot. It didn’t take long before my t-shirt was quite wet from the sweat. It was the kind of heat that makes breathing difficult.
But then at one point, I turned into a shaded area and it was as though I had stepped into an air conditioned room. Cool air bathed my body and I stood there with my eyes closed enjoying the respite from the heat.
I gave thanks for many things yesterday. Gorgeous vistas. The singing of the birds. The feel of pine needles beneath my feet. The water jets against my muscles in the hot tub of the B&B in which we are staying. A good meal and a nice glass of wine at the end of a long day. And last, but certainly not least, a cool breeze on a hot day. Thank you, God!