"For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant" (Is 42:14)


n the next five days of the Season of Creation, let us go through each of the five moments of the Examen prayer, aka Consciousness or Awareness Examen. Let us together fly like the wandering albatross as we deepen our interconnectedness with the Divine Creator, amongst our brothers and sisters and with the whole of creation.

I. BREATH (1/5): The secret to flying is the wing. But it is no secret at all that air must first be present before anything could even exist, let alone be lifted. We draw an analogy between the Ignatian examen and the secrets of birdlife and bird flight. Every bird relies on breathing in the air first to stay alive. Just like human beings, birds, as well as plants and fishes, are beings-with-breath. There is no genuine examen if we cannot become mindful of the basics. The basic awareness of being-with-breath directs one’s attention to the Spirit who is breath and life, the impetus for meaning who sheds light upon everything. Therefore, the examen is our constant awareness of being-with-Spirit. It is a daily bidding evoked by each breath that we take moment-to-moment. Every breath serves as the living lens to look in and recognize God’s Spirit who longs for us more than we long for God and is more alive in us than we are to ourselves. Without this Spirit, there is no drive to even get up from bed in the morning, let alone, to be disposed for prayer. An ocean of air is strong as it pushes externally and internally from near and afar against anything, including us, even if we do not feel its full might. We drink its strength when we breathe. That is why the examen starts simply with one’s breath. It is a powerful way of disposing oneself to be full of the Spirit and life. The Spirit is to the examen as breath is to life. No wonder the words for Spirit, soul, life, and breath are synonymous in the major world languages. Human life is never solitary just like birdlife. Although a bird could be seen flying by itself, it is never alone. My breath is like the “wind beneath my wings” that propels this quarter-hour mindfulness exercise. Just think of a hummingbird that whirs its wings so fast to steadily hold itself hovering in the air while it drinks sweet nectar from a flower. I ask, “Where is God alive in me?” “Where do I sense God’s living Spirit here and now?” 8thWorker.us


  1. Breathe In, I am loved.
    Breathe Out, I love and care.

    Breathe In, thank you Lord.
    Breathe Out, I love you Lord.

    Breathe In, we are one.
    Breathe out, we love and serve together.


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