The Pope & the Pastor
4. The books of the Old Testament predicted that the joy of salvation would abound in messianic times. The prophet Isaiah exultantly salutes the awaited Messiah: “You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy” (9:3). He exhorts those who dwell on Zion to go forth to meet him with song: “Shout aloud and sing for joy!” (12:6). The prophet tells those who have already seen him from afar to bring the message to others: “Get you up to a high mountain, O herald of good tidings to Zion; lift up your voice with strength, O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem” (40:9).
…This is the joy which we experience daily, amid the little things of life, as a response to the loving invitation of God our Father: “My child, treat yourself well, according to your means… Do not deprive yourself of the day’s enjoyment” (Sir 14:11, 14). What tender paternal love echoes in these words!. –Pope Francis, Gaudium Evangelii
Joy is a sure sign that one knows God. This fruit of the Spirit can be deepened in us through gratitude, which connects what we possess or do not possess to the God who gives all good things. Every day we are given blessings but they can be easy to miss. The Daily Examen is a spiritual practice that can help. After becoming aware of God’s presence, we are to review the day with gratitude. Attention to the specifics of our lives, helps us see all things in light of God and so we are able to understand Pope Francis’ acknowledgement that we experience joy in the little things of daily life. It is in this daily encounter that we find the simple joy of having faith in Jesus.
Short Daily Examen
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.