The Racism & Reconciliation Committee at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis is offering a Lenten Racial Justice Journey this year. It begins in familiar form: with an Examen.
You have set aside this time for reflection. The realities of racism and oppression are overwhelming and bewildering. Acknowledge that God is with you in this journey. You are not alone.
After reviewing and reflecting on the ideas that were presented, ask God to bring clarity and understanding of the material you have read and heard. Review the events of this day. Were there times that one or more of these points can be recognized?
Pay attention to the feelings you experience as you recognize your connection to racial justice and injustice. What causes you to feel angry, frustrated, discouraged, sorrowful, isolated, etc.? Did you connect to ideas that brought feelings of comfort, encouragement, joy or peace? Look deeply at what God is saying to you through these feelings. Where is God’s voice in it?
What ideas are hard to accept? With what are you struggling? Sometimes it is right to step away from untruths, but other times the barrier may come from too-ready judgement, self-righteousness or arrogance. Tell God how you feel; ask for God’s forgiveness and help.
Turn your reflection to the day ahead. How might your understanding be applied? Ask God for wisdom and courage to act in ways that increase racial justice and bring healing to yourself and others. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude.
End your Examen with the Lord’s Prayer or a prayer for racial justice.
Almighty God, source of true justice and peace,
in you there is no distinction of persons,
for in you we are equally loved.
Reconcile us that we may live and work
with each other and with you
to establish your Kingdom on earth
where there is no poverty, war, or any oppression,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
It is written in Ezekiel 36:26: "I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
Pope Francis reminds us that the Lord "calls each of us by our name: he knows us by name; he looks at us; he waits for us; he forgives us; he is patient with us."
Receiving God's grace and forgiveness requires a response. Pope Francis encourages the believer: "Whoever experiences Divine mercy is impelled to be an architect of mercy among the least and the poor. 'Now let us do what God requires: Only to do justice and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God'" (Micah 6:8).
The Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver offers Ignatian group retreats, individual spiritual direction, the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, and trains spiritual directors and guides of the Spiritual Exercises.