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. 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.
As 2023 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. View more resources about the Examen here.
If you’d like to be more intentional in integrating your faith into your planning and goal-setting for the new year, join my husband Chris and I for Living with Christ: An Ignatian Discernment Process for Intentional Living. This year, as we lean into our mission of accompaniment, we’re expanding our previous offerings and going deeper together with our four-week program, Living with Christ: An Ignatian Discernment Process for Intentional Living. We are excited to not only share our tried-and-true methods, refined over the last 20 years of annual discernment and planning, but also to walk with you over four weeks through a process that will help you bring Christ into your planning and walk forward with boldness and peace.
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 Chapel. With 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.