Right now Pope Francis is in Cuba, and he is scheduled to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday afternoon. This unprecedented journey from our unprecedented pope has all eyes focused on him and his pastoral visit. This will be his very first visit to the United States.
The blog, which has been in a hibernating slumber since May will spring back to life this week. If you are returning – welcome back! And if you are new, welcome! We hope that you will follow the blog via email or Facebook to keep current. We also have a St. Ed’s hashtag, if you share these posts on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, please use #StECPPope
The US Catholic Bishops have prepared prayers for all of us, which can be found at this link, and opens as a document. This invitation for us to go on a virtual pilgrimage at the pope is a unique invitation to deepen our faith.
Did you know that Time Warner has a Papal Visit channel? The programming can be accessed on channel 199 and is offering 24 hour news and information about the pastoral journey. Featuring prayers for each day of Pope Francis’ time in the US, this document is worth printing and praying with beginning on Tuesday.
Each day we will post something that will help us pray and reflect individually and as a community as Pope Francis makes his way.
We can begin praying today with a prayer that is at the heart of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order that Pope Francis belongs to. This prayer, the Examen, is typically prayed at the end of each day, but you can use it at any time of day that works for you.
The Examen calls us to:
- Remember that we are in the presence of God. It is OK to ask God to help us to pray, it can be difficult to get started.
- Think of one or two or three things from your day that you are very thankful for and thank God for them.
- Do a review of the day. Was there a time when you were more aware of God? Did you feel affection for someone you encountered? Was the bread that came with your soup at lunch especially good? Were you aware of someone’s love for you? Things like that, great and small, extraordinary and ordinary.
- How has sin been present today? Did you do something that you now regret? Feel the sorrow in your prayer, letting God know what happened, and that you are indeed sorry. Pray that the person you may have hurt can forgive you. If it was a greater sin, pray about getting to confession soon.
- Was there something in your day that touched you more deeply that you have just reflected on in this Examen? Return to that, letting God know your feelings. Pray for God’s grace to be present, pray for your own ever deepening awareness of grace.
This prayer is a beautiful way to take 5 or 10 or 15 minutes and really connect with God and with our own hearts. It may seem awkward at first, but over time the rhythm of the Examen will be part of your own prayer. There’s not really a right or wrong way to pray, it is about connecting with God on a regular basis. And remember – this is the probably how Pope Francis concludes his every day!
Pope Francis’ visit will inspire us and touch so many lives. Please stay tuned and gather here at the blog for more to follow. An please, let us all pray together and invite others to pray with us by sharing this blog with them; you do not need to be a member of our parish to join us here! And all are always welcome at St. Edward’s – please join us in any way you can!