Gratitude is a major focus of Ignatian spirituality, according to Jesuit Father Ed Mathie, who is a pastoral minister at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
“I think Ignatian spirituality is so much about gratitude and thanksgiving,” says Fr. Mathie, who is also teaching a course on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius at Marquette. “Everything we have, every gift and talent, we clearly say is from God. Not only that, but we look around the world and everything around us is created for us. It’s a whole, entire sense of gratitude.”
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One of the best ways to demonstrate gratitude, Fr. Mathie says, is by praying the Examen. This simple, reflective prayer is foundational to St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises.
For Thanksgiving, we share with you an Examen prayer of gratitude, adapted by Marquette University Campus Ministry:
God, we thank You.
You are the source of all creation. I thank You for the gifts You have given me. Let me thank You today, especially for the gift of this earth.
God, send Your Spirit upon us.
As I reflect on my day thus far, help me to recall the moments where I was most conscious of Your beautiful creation. What have I done today to care for the earth? As I go forth with the rest of my day, help me to be present to the gift of nature. Thank You, God, for this gift.
God, let us each look at the past week.
Recall your relationship with the Earth and with God. What joys do you find in these relationships? What are some of the challenges you may find? God, help me to improve my relationship with your creation so that I may be able to strengthen my relationship with You.
God, let us be grateful and ask for forgiveness.
Call to mind this past week. Where has God been most present to you? Was it something in nature? Or did you find God in a friend? Did music bring you alive with God’s presence? Wherever you felt God’s presence, think back to that moment, and pray from it.
God, stay close.
Look forward to tomorrow. Ask that God help you to see His grace incarnate in the dynamic interconnections of his creation. May you make a genuine effort to revere God’s creation in all that you do.
[Source: Marquette University]