Inspired By Ignatius: A JRS Examen
31 July 2019|JRS Publications, Spiritual Reflection and Resources
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is proud of our Ignatian heritage. As a work of the Society of Jesus, we trace our roots back to the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola. As a man who was committed to “finding God in all things,” he introduced the Examen as a prayer for doing exactly that – taking a moment each day to find God in all things.
It’s amazing how difficult this can be. As we get lost in the needs and worries of the day, so often we can forget God’s presence in it all. To top it all off, when we learn about the different refugee crises occurring across the globe —from Venezuela to Syria to the U.S.’s southern border— we can’t help but feel overwhelmed. Where can God possibly be in all this suffering?
Using the tools provided by St. Ignatius, JRS/USA has created this Examen as a way for you to find God even in the most difficult of circumstances. It’s this faith in God’s presence that gives us vision and inspires our mission.
As a friend and supporter of JRS/USA, we ask that you join us in this prayer. Allow it to inspire your commitment to accompanying, serving, and advocating for refugees and forcibly displaced people.
Become aware of God’s presence
Take a few deep breaths. It’s the same air that we all breathe, from the refugee on the road to those of us in the comfort of our home. It’s the breath of the Spirit that gives life to each and every one of us. God is present.
For some, God may still feel absent. Continue to explore this feeling of absence. Where is it especially felt? Where’s the space that God needs to fill?
Take a moment to gather the information you know about a situation or crisis. Where is it happening? Who is being affected? Where are they going? How are they being welcomed?
Review this information. Acknowledge what may be missing. Allow this to inform your next step.
As you review the information, what strikes you? What do you keep returning to? How does it make you feel? Are you angry? Upset? Saddened?
Sit with that feeling and pay attention. What you’re feeling is real.
Choose one feature and pray from it
By this point, you may have identified one thing —a thought, an image, or a feeling— that you can’t leave behind. It’s something that sticks with you. Pray from it.
How can you approach it? Is there something you can do at home? Or are you being called forward to take action?
Carry that thought, image, or feeling to the next day.
How will it form tomorrow? What will you do differently? Move away from indifference and allow this prayer to become inspired action.
God of all people,
We pray that we may accompany those on the road,
Walking in solidarity with those forced from their homes.
May we serve them humbly, recognizing not the cost,
But freely giving from what we have.
Remove all fear and allow us to become a voice crying out in the desert,
Proclaiming the good news and advocating on behalf of all those forcibly displaced.
May we follow your example in being a friend to the excluded and a ready defender in their time of need.
Please keep us united as a family,
brought together by faith, hope, and love.