by Maureen McKew

Last Sunday evening, I heard a homily that asked what we do with the time God gives us in this life. How well do we use it? Or do we just fritter it away? What we do with this gift counts to our salvation. It’s not sufficient simply to avoid evil; we are called as well to be proactive in sharing the Gospel.

So, how do we spend our time? Think about that smartphone in our pockets. How many times have we grabbed it to check on something we think we can’t live without knowing? Guilty here! How many hours did we spend binge-watching some television series? Does Amazon or Facebook or Twitter call us like an irresistible siren? Are we texting at the expense of conversation?  Are we procrastinating or just plain day-dreaming?

Perhaps one way to see how we use this gift of time and how much of our time we put to good purpose is to try the Examen, a component of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. Jesuits are expected to do this twice a day but even once a day would be valuable for the rest of us.  This prayerful exercise helps us to see where God is acting in our lives — God is very active whether we notice or not– and to discern (that’s a favorite Jesuit verb) where God is pointing us.

You can find the Examen published in any number of books about the Spiritual Exercises. You can find it online at Ignatian Spirituality.com or The Jesuits USA Northeast Province, to cite just two websites. Or…you can make good use of your smartphone with one of the many Examen apps available to you.

It won’t take much of that treasure we call time but it certainly will put it to good use.

PS: Thanks to Fr. Robert Robbins, pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and St. Stephen in Manhattan, for his homily.