Monday, August 8, 2011

Spiritual Exercises for the Evening

In the morning, we prepare for the day, we plan for the work, for the prayer, for the ups and downs that we can dimly forecast. We ask for the grace to walk in the grace of God throughout the day...

And now, day is done. We have walked through the day with more or less success. And before we retire, it is a good practice to stand before the Lord and place all of it back into his hands - the good, the bad, the tears and the laughter. All of it. Without exception.

St. Francis de Sales, to who we currently look for guidance has some practical tips for this time before bed.
We thank God for having preserved us during the past day.
I would add that it is a good thing to think for a minute on one or two of the "highs" of the day - the graces, the joys, the time with those we love...

We examine how we have behaved ourselves during all the hours of the day; and in order to do so more easily, we consider where, with whom, and in what we have been employed.
This can either be chronological: hour by hour, or in other ways. We can consider the different things we have done, or the people we have spent time with and how those relationships went. We can look at it in any way that is most practical, but the entire day should be considered.
If we find that we have done any good, we thank God for it.
In considering human nature and its tendencies, every good that we do is a great gift. It is right to thank God for every good action that we do, since we could have chosen to do the opposite.

Notice, too, that St. Francis asks us to look first at the good that we have done. For one who is striving to do good and come close to the Lord, the examination of conscience is a hopeful, forward looking thing.
If, on the other hand, we have done evil in thought, word or deed, we ask pardon of his Divine Majesty, with a resolution to confess at the first opportunity and carefully to amend it.
We will talk more about Confession later. For right now, it is sufficient to note that mortal sins must be confessed and we are encouraged to confess venial sins, especially the stubborn ones. The firm purpose to amend our lives is very important. Otherwise, we tend to wander around in a fog, never making progress.
After that, we commend to the care of Divine Providence our body, our soul, the Church, our relations, our friends. We ask Our Lady, our good Angel and the Saints to watch over us and for us.
And then to sleep. In peace. For we are most dearly loved.

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