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On Francis’ feast, Jesuits launch ‘ecological examen’

October 12, 2017

Combining the spiritualties of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Ignatius of Loyola, two Jesuit organizations have created what they term an “ecological examen” – an examination of conscience much like the well-known Ignatian examen but with a Franciscan ecological inspiration.

Developed by the Jesuit Conference, the organization that represents the Jesuits of the U.S. and Canada, and the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the ecological examen is similar to a traditional Ignatian examen in that it offers five simple steps for reflection, the Washington, D.C.-based conference announced Oct. 4 on the feast of St. Francis.

But unlike a traditional examen, the ecological examen takes cues from Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’,” asking for reflection on an individual’s relationship with creation, on questions of ecological justice and on how we can all stand in solidarity with those most impacted by environmental harm. The five sections are: gratitude, awareness, understanding, conversion and reconciliation.

In the examen, readers “give thanks to God for creation and for being wonderfully made” and “ask for the grace to see how my life choices impact creation and the poor and vulnerable.”

“We hope this ecological examen helps individuals in their homes, parishes, schools, universities and communities to examine their relationship with creation, to hear the cry of the earth and the poor and reflect on ways to reconcile their relationship with God’s creation,” said Cecilia Calvo, senior advisor on environmental justice at the Jesuit Conference.

Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, said, “Now more than ever, we need to reflect on the ways our care for the Earth impacts our brothers and sisters throughout the world. This examen provides a prayerful way for institutions and individuals to engage in ways that lead us into deeper relationship with God, creation and others.”

“The beauty of the examen is that it takes repetition,” Jesuit Father Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference, said in a video introduction to the examen. “Our relationship with God takes time, and in that relationship, we’re called to conversion.”

The full examen, a one-page summary, prayer card and all related materials are available at ecoexamen.org.

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