"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)

Day 1: 'Lux in Domino' Examen 1/5: Let there be light

ET THERE BE LIGHT: As we move through this examen prayer, we are likely to find ourselves overtaken with quite a bit of emotional churning. We will be shaken up to self-introspection. We may find ourselves in tears both of repentance and of joy, because something is going on inside us, like beholding a work of art that is being illuminated and all we need are our two eyes and some patience. The examen moments are not so much about what we do, grasp or comprehend as much as what God is already doing and revealing to us. Prayer is mindfulness of God’s appearance or epiphany. “In your light we see light itself” (Ps 36:9). “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (Jn 1:5). And when that happens, it is not surprising that some veiled and unveiled images come into focus, and we become baffled or astonished. You are no longer just the candle in the dark room but also the room conquered by the candlelight—“living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Heb 4:12). This quarter-hour exercise is an opportune or kairos moment to slow down the lightning fast daily grind and to revel. Everything is grace as revealed by the Light in the Lord, Lux in Domino (Eph 5:8). It is then necessary that the mind finds a spiritual anchor when it is inclined to fly off in multiple directions. The daily examen follows a kind of mirror image. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel a straight line” writes the mathematics genius BenoĆ®t Mandelbrot. Inside a cauliflower we find what looks like a smaller cauliflower, a piece of cloud looks like a small cloud, a mountain’s peak looks like a small hill and an examen, a glimpse of eternity. It is called self-similarity (the whole has the same shape as one or more of the parts). Likewise, there are self-replicating human consciousness of an infinite realm of consciousness. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God” writes Gerard Manley Hopkins and such grandeur awaits to be seen through the human senses illuminated by God’s holy light. “I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there” (Ps 139:7-10). God knows, sees and makes Godself visible in everything. After I beg for the Lord’s light to be revealed, I ask myself, “With what ears do I listen to you, with what eyes do I look at you?”