This is the time of the year we see so many top 10 lists. You have already seen them: “The Year’s Most Memorable News Stories,” “The Best Films of the Year,” and on and on.
I wonder what would happen if we took time to review our year. To go back through the year and look for where God was in the past year. More specifically, to look for what drew you to God, and even what drew you away from God.
I fear we might think we need to look for “large epiphanies” but then we might fail to see the little glimpses of God we are given much more frequently.
Some time ago I mentioned the Prayer of Examen (#35). What I am thinking about now is an Examen of year. Over the next several days, why don’t you try this? Below I have summarized the steps in the Examen sightly adapted,
(1) Remind yourself that you’re in God’s presence, and ask God to help you with your prayer.
(2) Recall anything from the year for which you are especially grateful, and give thanks.
(3) Open your memory to recall events of the year, noticing where you felt God’s presence, and where you accepted or turned away from any invitations to grow in love.
(4) Recall any actions for which you are sorry.
(5) Ask for God’s forgiveness. Decide whether you want to reconcile with anyone you have hurt.
(6) Ask God for the grace you need for now and the next year and an ability to see God’s presence more clearly.
I invite you to set aside several times over the next few days to sit in prayer with the intention of opening yourself to what God can bring to your memory about this past year. Above all, let God be your guide through those memories. God may have some surprises for you.