Personal Introduction

Welcome! My name is John Roselle, SJ, and I took lifelong ("perpetual") vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Jesuit on August 13th, 2011 after a two-year novitiate. I am now a Jesuit Scholastic for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. I will study philosophy and theology for the next three years at Loyola University in Chicago. At the same time, I will do part-time ministry in some capacity with the poor. After that, I will likely teach for three years before finishing three more years of theology. Then, God willing, I will be ordained a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest! It's a long road, but a blessed, fun, and enriching one. This blog exists as a resource for friends, family, and others who are interested in my progress through the Jesuit process of formation. Every day is its own adventure, and I am happy to have you along with me to share in this. This blog contains my own personal thoughts and should not be taken to speak for the entire Society of Jesus. Feel free to contact me. God bless you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Intro to "The Examen"

The "Consciousness Examen" is a cornerstone of Ignatian spirituality.  I assembled the following guide for learning more about it:

Note that the Examen is NOT simply an examination of "conscience" (which might only deal with sin), but it is focused not on sin but on consciousness of GRACE.  Granted, sometimes we don't respond to grace (and that could be sin), but the point is to find God in all things, throughout our lives.  As St. Paul wrote, "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more."  So, here are a ton of good resources to mull over.  Take your time reading these, watching the video, praying with the Examen. Try to pray it every evening over the next month.  It will really be a blessing to your self-awareness and vocational awareness.  It isn't a quick-fix, but a gradual learning to listen to where God has been in your life.  

I encourage you especially print out and pray with the First Principle and Foundation below:

I hope this will be engaging and relevant to you, offering you a tool for greater spiritual growth.  I am still growing into the Examen myself, but having practiced it for over 3 years, I can attest that it is a powerful resource.  Check this out.  Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for the presentation, things you want me to address, etc. 

PS: word to the wise--don't get hung up on the "right" way to do this prayer; there are a few variations but one common theme: growing as a contemplative in action, able to see God at work through reflection on our daily lives

As you read this: how than this be helpful for spiritual growth?

Examen videos:

In order to make the most of the Examen, it is best to understand the basics of St. Ignatius's discernment of spirits, since the Examen is basically a daily discernment of spirits.  

Quick Video on Discernment of Spirits:

Basic article:

More in-depth: how do I know I'm experience God?

Lastly, definitely read over the short First Principle and Foundation of St. Ignatius.  It is basically the meaning of life, according to him, and the basis of his spirituality.  It is how the 30 day silent Spiritual Exercises begin.  I recommend printing these out, praying with them, seeing how they strike you, etc.  Again, the Examen will make a lot more sense and mean a lot more if these pieces are in place.  It take time, but it's worth it.  

Here is Ignatius' words (of course he wrote in Spanish):

The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.
All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one's end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one's end.
To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.
Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.

Here is a more modern but still faithful reading of the spirit of the First Principle and Foundation, written by the late Fr. David Fleming, SJ:

God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life
to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
Insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
They displace God
And so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
Before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
And are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
Wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
To God's deepening his life in me.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, John! You have no idea how helpful this post is. Thank you, thank you.