One of the great things about this Apostleship of Prayer "sandwich" is how it encourages naturally unobservant people like me to pay attention to the people and circumstances of everyday life. Left to my own inclinations, I am rather like this:
While the morning offering prayer anticipates potential encounters of the day ahead, the evening review (or examen, as St. Ignatius of Loyola calls it) reflects on actual interactions--the real, concrete people and places we recall from the day, rather like watching a movie.
- Children's version: Children can pray the morning offering, even singing the words to the tune of "Amazing Grace," if they are THAT kind of morning person.
- Traditional version: No one, to my knowledge, has ever tried to put the grown-up version of the morning offering to music. (#wordy)
Children can also learn the habit of praying the evening review. I use this Apostleship of Prayer video (embedded on our children's page) when I talk with children about the five-step evening review. It's called "A Trip to the Movies with God," and the analogy works: I sit back at the end of the day, resting in God, and ask the Holy Spirit to walk me through the events of the day like a movie starring me and God.
The video itself has a couple of extra frames that help unpack the five steps of this Ignatian evening review, asking questions like these:
- Which classes or activities did I attend today? How did I participate?
- What were my meals like today--the food I ate, the time I spent eating, the people around me?
- Which people did I see and talk to? What did I think about them in my heart?
One of my favorite Apostleship of Prayer stories was relayed to me a few days after I visited a parish to teach the children how to pray the evening review. I explained the idea of the evening review, and the children discussed why reflecting back on the day is a helpful skill to learn. Then we went through the "Trip to the Movies with God" video and actually practiced praying the examen. A week or so later, one of the moms of those children contacted me to share what happened the evening after my visit: she tucked her son in to bed and kissed him goodnight, then headed toward the bedroom door. Her son called out to stop her: "Mom! Wait! Don't you want to watch my movie with me?"
God is the witness of the inmost self
and the sure observer of the heart
and the listener to the tongue.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being,
and the creatures of the world are wholesome.
-Wisdom 1:6, 14