Sem. Justin G. Gatus
December 24, 2019 Tuesday
One thing that I’ve learned in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola is the importance of the Examen. This is a process of self-reflection wherein we recall our whole day and see where or how we have met God or where God has met us. This may come in different methods and approaches but nonetheless, the approach is to see the presence of God in our day. In one of the books that I’ve read, the author said that examination of conscience is important because often times, we do not see God immediately in the ordinary or even in the special occasions in our lives. For instance, in the time of despair, we won’t immediately feel God’s presence until we step back and reflect on the circumstance that made us lonely.
I remember one time when we climbed Mt. Ulap, despite the grandeur and the majesty of the view while going up the mountain, it was only during my examen in my night prayer wherein I saw a clear experience of God.
The Gospel for today invites us to look at Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. His trust and faithfulness in the Lord made him sing his own heart, what we call, the Benedictus. This is sung during the morning prayer in the divine office. This is a story of praising God for the wonders He has done for Zechariah and the whole of Israel!
As we approach the coming of Jesus Christ, the Gospel invites me to always look back in my life and wonder in the good things that the Lord has done for me. That despite the many trials and hardships I’ve been through this year, God’s faithfulness never wavered and His love constantly prevailed. It is only when we look back at our experiences that we get to look forward to what is to come. The Canticle of Zechariah invites me to always be persistent with my examen, and always see God and listen to what He says in every circumstance in my life.
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”