We are entering into a new year with hope and thanking 2018 for the joys and pains we had experienced. In Ignatian tradition, every examination of conscience must begin with a thanks giving and ends with new proposals for the next hours of the day or for the next day. The person has to enter into the inner self and ask oneself many questions as the part of one’s daily evaluation which will enable one to go ahead properly with one’s new hours or day of life.
“And he said to himself, what am I going to do?” (Lk 16;3) This is an example of a monologue which is the Lucan way of going to the interior self. The monologues are also seen earlier in the parable of the rich fool in Lk: 12. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ And the prodigal son also makes a monologue on how he would behave, once he reaches to his father. (Lk 15). Every spiritual search begins with a monologue. St. Ignatius of Loyola asked himself, “If Francis and Dominic could do why can’t I?” Every monologue must lead a person to rediscover and recreate one’s life.
The second phase of the monologue of the servant in the periscope is the affirmation he makes within himself. “I know what I’ll do.” (Lk 16;4) This affirmation is very important in one’s spiritual journey. Everyone can say this either from his/her mind or from his/her heart. Recently Kerala province of the Society of Jesus started publishing a magazine called, “Ezhuth”. The Caption of the magazine is, ‘Chinthikunna Hridhyangalk’ translated as “for the reflecting hearts”. The publishing committee assumes that the faculty of thinking and reflecting is for the heart. We always believe that the faculty of thinking is for Mind and intellect. This is not a new concept the Ezhuthu Magazine team invented, instead it has affirmed the eastern perception called ‘mananam’ was popularly known in the eastern Christianity. The Eastern Christianity speaks of “the virgin point”. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God.” Our expression “I know what I will do” must come from this point.
Our every spiritual journey begins from this point. Everyone comes across so many poor people on the journey, but only a very few answer the call and respond like mother Theresa. Everyone reads and listens to the Gospel of the Lord every day; even meditates over it, but St. Francis of Assisi and many more answered it from the heart and changed the lives of many. St. Ignatius of Loyola asks us to use the triple colloquy. Here he asks us to speak to the Father, Son and mother Mary; not from our intellect and mind but from our hearts. It is a heart to heart conversation and relationship.
Let this new year examinations of conscience make us to enter into our interior self in order to ask what can I do For Christ? Let our monologue come from “virgin point” of our hearts so that we may be able to rediscover and re-create our lives and touch many hearts of men and women.
Midhun J Francis is a Jesuit priest belongs to Kerala Province of the Society of Jesus. He is currently doing Licentiate in Systematic Theology at JDV Pune. He is also working in Christian-Muslim relationship and inter religious dialogue among Christians and Muslims.