What face do you present to the world today? Is it a hopeful face, a resigned face, an optimistic face, happy, discouraged, angry, bored, curious, peaceful, tired, determined, excited face? What is it that sets your face each morning when you rise from bed?
I began to think about this as I viewed an exhibit of Nubian sculpture recently at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The MFA has a wonderful and extensive collection of this art, which flourished for 3,000 years in the Sudanese Nile Valley. I wondered what influenced the way the individuals of that time faced their day.
I find that a period of meditation and reflection at the beginning of the day puts me on a steady and peaceful trajectory for the day ahead. Although the tenor of the day can change to something more hectic and busy, and it usually does, by starting off my day with a period of prayer, I can face the world with more equanimity and regain that equanimity more easily, if I begin to feel frazzled.
Many people find the Ignatian practice of the Examen a helpful way to start or end the day. It’s a 10-minute prayer in which I review the past 24 hours and recall the blessings I experienced, how I felt God’s presence, where I fell short, and the graces I need for the coming day. If you’re looking for a way to be more attentive to God’s presence in your life, praying the Examen is a great way to go.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)