The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he read it. Then Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workers who have oversight of the house of the Lord.” Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.” Shaphan then read it aloud to the king.
When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah, saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
Then the king directed that all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem should be gathered to him. The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him went all the people of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord.
The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. All the people joined in the covenant.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
If you are a golfer you have probably experienced days, maybe even weeks or months, where you have completely lost your game. This is also true of the baseball player who goes into a long and deep hitting slump. I have found in golf that my game typically comes back when I remind myself of only one or two very fundamental “swing thoughts.” Simplifying and getting back to the fundamentals usually produces the desired results.
Today’s first reading starts with an Israel which had totally lost it. They had given up their special relationship with God for the likes of Baal. They didn’t even realize they had lost it until the high priest happened to find the book of the law in the temple. Thank goodness the king, Josiah, took the words from the book seriously and sought consultation with the Lord and acted decisively.
Isn’t this true in our own spiritual lives as well? Sometimes we just lose it, and we don’t even know we are lost. We give up our special relationship with God for wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. So what are we to do? Let’s get back to the fundamentals. Stay true to Ignatius’ insistence on the practice of the Examen. Answer the question, what does love require? Seek consultation with the Lord and act decisively.
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
Lord, sometimes we feel so distant to you. It is as if our special relationship with you is gone. Remove our guilt. Return us to the foundational practice of St. Ignatius’ Examen.
The Daily Examen
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
For details about each step of the Examen, read How Can I Pray?