Annual Examen

Five simple steps to starting the new year on a more solid foundation.

It’s hard to know where we are going if we do not fully understand where we’ve been. And 2020 gave us a lot to process! Ignatian spirituality invites us to look at our past with God’s help in order to better understand where we are.  This process of reflection illuminates where we are now, and it offers insights on what we are called to as well.

This principle of looking backwards to get guidance on where we are going in Ignatian spirituality is not merely a sentimental theory, but a basis for a lived expression of faith.  The concrete way St. Ignatius invited us to put this into practice was through the prayer tool, the Examen.

Annual Examen:  

As 2021 is here, we begin making New Years Resolutions. To support this process, I invite you to use the Examen to take a look back over the last year with God’s help.   I am going to challenge us to not rush the process of making resolutions for the New Year without first taking the time to thank God for where we’ve been, especially in this unique and challenging year.

Download a printable .PDF of the Annual Examen here. This two-page guide will walk you through the five simple steps of the Examen prayer, focused around looking back at the past 12-months of life. You can also listen to the guided audio version.

I invite you to set aside quiet time to be with God. When you are ready to move forward, begin with a moment of silence. Take a deep breath and let’s dive into gratitude, seeing God’s presence, God’s lack of presence, and looking ahead — with this simple Annual Examen.

If you’d like to dive deeper into how we invite God into our planning and goal-setting for a new year, join my husband Chris and I for our live virtual retreat, Living Intentionally: Inviting God into Planning Your Year We are excited to share our tried-and-true methods, refined over the last 18 years of annual discernment and planning, and guide you through a process that will help you live intentionally and walk forward with boldness and peace. 

Guided Audio Reflection on the Annual Examen

by Becky Eldredge

Becky Eldredge

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the book Busy Lives and Restless Souls and the recently published book, The Inner ChapelWith two decades of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, she invites her community deeper in their walk with Christ, through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and spiritual direction. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with her husband and three children. 

Read more about Becky here.
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