We pray for light. We want to see what God sees. Or do we?
When we pray the Examen, we ask God to shed light on the day and to reveal to us where he has been present, where we have fallen short, and where we can go to be his hands and feet.
Joseph A. Tetlow, SJ, writes, “When we ask for light, we need to be ready to accept what God gives us.” This is true. Sometimes God reveals something we do not want to see.
Sometimes God reveals where he has been present, such as in a conversation with a coworker or a decision made for our family. We are happy to see, if it is something beautiful. Frankly, sometimes it strokes our own ego and helps us to know we are on the right track.
But sometimes God reveals where we fall short regarding a person in our circle who is hurting or a situation we have an opportunity to remedy. Sometimes, we fall short through our own sin. Perhaps a bad habit is turning into part of our character. Even these revelations are a grace. It is God’s light that drives out the darkness. That light gives us the opportunity to rid ourselves of obstructions that keep us from being close to Jesus.
Even now, I sit before Jesus and ask that he shed his light on my day, habits, and communities. A face comes to mind. I have seen this face before in my prayers. It is the face of a little girl in my community. She is hurting. I can see it. Jesus has brought her face to mind before. I prayed for her, and then I forgot.
During the Examen, God sheds his light on this situation, and I know I can do more. He wants me to do more. It will be awkward.
I think again of what Tetlow writes, “When we ask for light, we need to be ready to accept what God gives us.” I imagine God saying to me, “You asked for it,” in a teasing, joking sort of way. I want to do the right thing. I want to be God’s hands and feet to share his love with this little girl. I also know that God doesn’t need me to help. He is giving me an opportunity to live in his love. This is a grace. If I don’t take the opportunity, he will find someone else. God is giving me the opportunity to draw closer to him and to draw this little girl closer to him.
Scripture says, “for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). And I think there is so much more to this light than just that girl’s face. There is her story, my story. How I am learning to cleave to Jesus more and more. How he wants to teach me this.
So I pray:
Lord, you’ve shed your light on my day and my community.
Now I ask that I stay close to you as I look at what you have shown me.
Reveal to me now how I can move forward in obedience.
Reveal to me the opportunities I have to show your love.
And, Lord, give me the strength and boldness to do your will.