AS people prepare for the hoped-for end of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering what it meant. Some may also be anxious about returning to in-person work and social events, and wondering how to cope.
Maybe an ages-old Christian prayer practice can help.
Rachel Twigg, an Anglican priest and spiritual director, is offering this fall a four-evening online course in Examen, a prayer practice developed in the 16th century by Ignatius Loyola.
Through the course, titled "Dear God: What a year! What do I do now?," participants can learn about this "deceptively simple prayer that invites you to reflect on your life by identifying the highs and lows of a specific period of time."
Through Examen, which takes about 10 minutes each day, practitioners take time to become aware of God’s presence, review the day or a particular time period, pay attention to their emotions, and then look forward to tomorrow.
"It’s easy and short," said Twigg, who has been practising it for 15 years.
"We often live lives on autopilot," she said, adding through Examen, people can look back to "see where God was in the day, when they felt most fully alive, most loved, what they are most grateful for, and also the opposite."
Over time, practitioners can notice patterns, understand themselves better and make changes to be "what God has created us to be," Twigg said.
"It’s a profound experience to see that God is in everything," she said, adding it can also be a good practice for dealing with the end of the pandemic.
"We are all carrying stuff from the pandemic with us. Examen is a way to stop and look back and ask what the heck happened, think about the things we want to leave behind, and what we want to take forward."
Cost of the course, which starts Oct. 12, is $75 (wood-water-retreats.square.site).
John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg's faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the U.S., and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.