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The Daily Examen – Why Old Things Matter

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Old things matter. We feel it when we lay our hand on the weathered bark of an old tree, experience the frail but warm embrace of an aging family member, or taste a wine that has taken time to become to the palate what only a fine wine can be. When it comes to spiritual practices that can help us “feed on Christ” (John 6:57 – “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me”) sometimes “old” is the new “new.” The spiritual practice of the Daily Examen, a pattern of prayer that was formed (I believe by the Holy Spirit) in the heart of Ignatius of Loyola in the early 1500s, is like that for me.

“We today suffer from the unexamined notion that the more recent something is, the better, or more true it must be.” – Richard Foster

What has stood the test of time has stood the test of time. The longevity of anything speaks of its durability. I’ve met with God in a thousand profound moments through many vehicles like songs, communion, relational moments, art exhibits, long walks, and more.

I welcome spontaneity, and have had the privilege of leading many into moments of worship that have surprised me as well as the rest of us in the room.

But I have never so consistently and so profoundly been able to re-orient myself to the love of Christ, in seasons of both deep suffering and inexpressible joy, as I have through the Daily Examen.

In an extended season of chronic health struggles, with the attendant anxieties and inner battles with which such struggles come, it is been my anchor spiritual practice. The Daily Examen demonstrates that sometimes old things are old – and yet are still in our view – for a reason.


This article on the Daily Examen originally appeared here, and is used by permission.