I finished reading Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton today. It was a good way to start the year. She wrote about the spiritual disciplines of solitude, prayer, lectio divina, the examen of consciousness, self examination and confession, honoring the body, discernment, sabbath and community. I was most challenged by the segments on honoring the body and the sabbath. I have not taken very good care of my body in the past year and really want to make some changes. She emphasized the need to unplug from technology when enjoying the sabbath or seeking solitude. Of course, that is another challenge of mine.
I have used the daily examen often but reading this book at this particular time of the year led me to reflect upon the entire past year instead of just the day. In doing the examen of consciousness we ask God for light and then reflect on the day with thanksgiving, noting the consolations (the positive things that happened and the ways we got it right) and the desolations (the low points or the things that happened that we wish we had handled differently). Then we are to confess and pray through the things that God brings to our minds and finally we rest in God's love and assurance.
2006 was a challenging year for me and I had many desolations and consolations. My prayer is that this year will be one in which I practice the sacred rhythms.