"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 3: 'Lux in Domino' Examen 3/5: SELF-REFLECTION

Ignasi Flores

ELF-REFLECTION: In self-reflection, we are oneing (Julian of Norwich) with God. Even the most religious are disconnected from God because they are just talking about God rather than to God, hence, all talk but no action, no reflection. “God is dead,” writes Friedrich Nietzsche, which points to the falling-out with God into a worldly black hole bereft of light. Henri de Lubac calls it “spiritual worldliness—the greatest evil into which the Church can fall.” In each of our thoughts and feelings God is already reconciling with and revealing Godself to us as a living person being mirrored ‘here and now’ and the call is to “come and see” not at but through, with, in God. Self-reflection, as a way of looking, is not telling God what to do but listening to and letting God’s gentle light to soak-in just like the intimacy and warmth in a conversation. We have to self-reflect, but never in a self-referential way. When there was no word as yet, there was light itself. In the beginning was the light even before we can mirror it. Likewise, God loved first even before we can love God back. In the Bible, the worst darkness is to cut off one’s relationship, i.e., lost light. It is worst than evil. “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Mt 6:23). Walking in darkness can masquerade as a harmless getting of one’s own way all the time. If left unreflected, i.e., being mirrorless, it could mislead the ego to turn its back on God’s light and love. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn 1:5). “Men loved darkness rather than light... For everyone practicing evil hates… and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn 3:19-20). Converse with God at this moment and behold how various shades of love lit up your day. The more we mirror, magnify and soak in God’s holy light, the more we radiate loving and self-less virtues. St Benedict of Nursia points out what union means to his monks: “mens concordet voci” (mind must be in accord with the voice). It is self-pondering on the Word of God and God’s presence as the Blessed Virgin Mary has always exemplified. It must precede one’s own thoughts and feelings. The saints teach us not to be self-absorbed but to have self-reflection under the mantle of God’s light. “I do not advise you to say many words in prayer, since long discourse is often an occasion for the mind to wander. In prayer, hold yourself before God like a poor mute man and a paralytic at the door of a rich man, and spend your time keeping your soul in the presence of the Lord” (Brother Lawrence).