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What Do I Mean, “Rummaging for God?”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 21, 2015

prayer connects us

What Do I Mean, “Rummaging for God?”

We’ve looked at the Ignatian prayer mode called the Daily Examen for several days now. I am still thinking about it. Still examining it, as well as allowing it to examine me. I am amazed at the depth and breadth of this straight-forward manner of praying. St. Ignatius was brilliant for coming up with something as insightful as this.

I would like to turn to another helpful page from this helpful website I discovered. (This article is by Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ, and was originally published in America, May 14, 1994.) Fr. Hamm uses a striking image—“rummaging for God.” But, I’ll let him speak for himself.

“And how do we go about this kind of listening? Long tradition has provided a helpful tool, which we call the “examination of consciousness” today. “Rummaging for God” is an expression that suggests going through a drawer full of stuff, feeling around, looking for something that you are sure must be in there somewhere. I think that image catches some of the feel of what is classically known in church language as the prayer of “examen.” [1]


Wow. And again, I’ll say “wow.” It doesn’t matter how often I think about this way of prayer, or in what ways I think of it, the Daily Examen turns me inside out. It drills down, goes deep beneath the surface, and excavates my insides. Not that it’s all bad! No! But sometimes, I can rummage around my mental drawers and forget what is in there. Or, misplace things. Sometimes, God may have me pull out something I wasn’t expecting, and examine that. A memory, or a past event, or some item I am suddenly remembering.

Yes, it can be painful. Or sad. Or bittersweet. Or just plain happy.

Dear God, thank You for the prayer of the Daily Examen. I appreciate it, even when it hurts. Or makes me sad, frustrated, or repentant. Thank You.


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[1] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/rummaging-for-god-praying-backward-through-your-day