Thursday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time
“Attend to yourself and to your teaching.” (1 Tm 4:15) One of the first habits of prayer which St. Ignatius of Loyola recommends to those making a retreat is a spiritual review of the day, known as the Examen. Early on in the retreat it is an examination of conscience in which one examines ones thoughts, words, and deeds after the manner of the confession of sins: “I have sinned… in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done…” What this can do in the retreat is give one a greater attention and value in general for thoughts, words, and actions. Hence, later when St. Ignatius has one meditate on passages from the Gospels, he encourages the one praying to imagine what it is the persons in the passage are saying to one another, what they are doing, and lastly to imaginatively converse with Jesus or the apostles about what they are thinking.
These beneficial effects of the Examen continue later even when one is no longer using it as a way to examine one’s conscience. By following the words of St. Paul, “Attend to yourself”, regularly reviewing with the Lord the thoughts, words, and deeds of the day one can see more and more the inspirations, guidance and actions of the Lords throughout the day. This is so important for seeing the great works of mercy which the Lord does for us. When we are thus attending to ourselves, then we will see that like the woman in today’s Gospel we, too, are ones to whom much has been forgiven. Then we will have the strength like her to love much. (Lk 7:48)