One of the many extra-biblical tools of methodology used to listen to God by the contemplative Mark Centre (affiliated with the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches) is called the “Examen”:
Listening to what brings life to your heart
Invitations from God
“Come to me with your ears wide open, listen and you will find life.” (Isaiah 55:3)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…. And be thankful.” (Col.3:15)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23&24)
• To discover more and more our unique identity and how we best give and receive love.
• To notice the accumulation of “insignificant moments” which form a pattern and give us direction in life.
• To become “fully alive” because Man fully alive is the glory of God – St. Irenaeus
• As you look over your day or week with gratitude for the gifts you have been given, ask yourself two questions: for what am I most grateful and for what am I least grateful? Another way to ask this question is what gave me the most life and what drained me the most? Or, what was my high and what was my low? This can be done alone or in community.
• Try to understand what it was about the event or situation that gave or took life from you.
• Journal your findings and share them with a friend you trust.
• As you ask these questions over time, you may notice a pattern emerging that helps you identify who God created you to be.
The Mark Centre website does not mention that this is one of many versions, and possibly even their own adaption, of a spiritual exercise called the Daily Examen that St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, practiced.
[More details of the Daily Examen of Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuits can be found here:
About these exercises, Cecil Andrews of Take Heed Ministries writes:
(Ignatius of Loyola) fully ‘imbibed’ this RC Theology and believed it to be truth and this is reflected in the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ that he subsequently penned and which received the following glowing endorsement from the current Pope Benedict XVI as can be seen on this web site http://www.nwjesuits.org/JesuitSpirituality/SpiritualExercises.html
Let’s look at a few excerpts from these ‘Spiritual Exercises’
Third Exercise: First Colloquy. ‘The first Colloquy to Our Lady, that she may get me grace from Her Son and Lord… And with that a HAIL MARY’ [Cecil’s comment – ‘There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus 1st Timothy 2:5]
Fifth Exercise: Additions. ‘Tenth Addition. The tenth Addition is penance… First Way. The first is as to eating… Second Way. The second, as to the manner of sleeping… Third Way. The third, to chastise the flesh, that is, giving it sensible pain, which is given by wearing haircloth or cords or iron chains next to the flesh, by scourging or wounding oneself, and by other kinds of austerity. [Cecil’s comment – whilst copying these quotes some lines from a well known hymn came to mind – “what can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus?’]
Rules to have the true sentiment in the (Roman Catholic) Church –
‘First Rule. The first: All judgment laid aside, we ought to have our mind ready and prompt to obey, in all, the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our holy Mother the Church Hierarchical…
Second Rule. The second: To praise confession to a Priest, and the reception of the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar once in the year, and much more each month, and much better from week to week…
Third Rule. The third: To praise the hearing of Mass often…
Fourth Rule. The fourth: To praise much Religious Orders, virginity and continence, and not so much marriage as any of these…
Sixth Rule. To praise relics of the Saints, giving veneration to them and praying to the Saints; and to praise Stations, pilgrimages, Indulgences, pardons, Cruzadas, and candles lighted in the churches… [Cecil’s comments – The many former Roman Catholics, now Christians, that I have been blessed over the years to meet and to work with now know, by the Spirit of God, the utter worthlessness of such pagan and vain observances]
Seventh Rule. To praise Constitutions about fasts and abstinence, as of Lent, Ember Days, Vigils, Friday and Saturday; likewise penances…
Eighth Rule. To praise the ornaments and the buildings of churches; likewise images, and to venerate them according to what they represent… [Cecil’s comment – Aaron found out in Exodus 32:3-7 & 19-28 that such misguided behaviour in ‘worship’ merits only God’s anger and judgment]
Ninth Rule. Finally, to praise all precepts of the Church, keeping the mind prompt to find reasons in their defence and in no manner against them… [Cecil’s comment – ‘The Church’ rules and not Christ!]
Thirteenth Rule. To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it, believing that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Bride, there is the same Spirit which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls. Because by the same Spirit and our Lord Who gave the ten Commandments, our holy Mother the Church is directed and governed. [Cecil’s comment – Slavish and dishonest obedience to ‘The Church’ commanded]
-Cecil Andrews, Take Heed Ministries
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Cecil Andrews goes on to explain that Loyola was a Roman Catholic who was fully committed to the Roman Catholic ‘Church’ and its ‘Christ,’ and the aim of his ‘Exercises’ was to ensure that he and all those who followed the ‘Exercises’ were completely ‘in union,’ which has nothing to do with the unity of Christ and His true Church. Cecil also addresses the claimed ‘conversion experience’ of Loyola which led him to study Roman Catholic Theology…
The experience that Loyola and many other leading figures in Roman Catholicism have had would appear to have been an occultic, demonic and mystical delusion of a type that is common in non-Christian religions like Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Hinduism Spiritualism etc. In his book ‘The Great Reformation’, R Tudur Jones wrote on page 244 ‘Loyola was no stranger to mystical experiences but he was not alone in this. The combination of mysticism and practicality was an outstanding characteristic of Teresa of Avila (1515-82). She had vivid visions of God’s love culminating in the so-called “Transverberation”, the ecstasy in which she felt an angel plunging a fiery spear into her heart and experienced the pain and joy of being transfixed by divine love’.
-Source: (same as last quote)
In his article Please Contemplate This, TA McMahon of The Berean Call writes:
While the contemplative movement is troubling in its antibiblical philosophies, it is downright alarming in its potential for demon involvement. Its methodologies have been the very stuff of occultism throughout the ages. A tutorial of this movement is The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a primer for learning occult visualization (hailed by shamans as the most potent method for contacting spirit entities). In one of dozens of such exercises Ignatius instructs the reader “to picture…Christ our Lord….standing in a lowly place in a great plain about the region of Jerusalem, His appearance beautiful and attractive.”3 Though this may seem innocent, even spiritually gratifying, in reality it’s impossible. No one knows what Jesus looks like. Morever, this is visual idolatry (Ex 20:4-5), and a divination technique that opens the door to demonic spirits. We personally know former Jesuit priests (Ignatius founded the Jesuits) who report that they had been demonized by this method. The real Jesus will not respond, no matter how sincere the practitioner. Through the imagination the visualized Jesus (or any other personage) often takes on a life of its own and brings the practitioner into occult bondage. (See The Seduction of Christianity or Occult Invasion for more information on shamanic visualization.)
Once again we ask: why is the B.C. MB Conference affiliated with a retreat centre that is training students, pastors, and missionaries in the exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and the ways of Roman Catholic mysticism?
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