Ignatian Wisdom #3: The Examen

September 2, 2011

The Examen is my all time favorite method of prayer.  It is a method of prayer where you review your day to detect both God’s presence and direction in your life.  I find it is very helpful at helping me see where God is working and present in my daily life.  It helps me see where God feels distant or not present also.  It makes me aware of my gifts, of what areas in my life are “life-giving”, and what areas of my life are draining and not bringing love or giving love to others.  It is often through my daily Examen that my blog postings topics come to fruition. 

There are several versions, but the one I often use is this one, which I learned through Charis Ministries

1.  Invite the Holy Spirit to help you see the day as God sees it. 

Ask for help in seeing how God was present to you throughout the course of the day.

2.  Think about the things you have experienced over the past few hours, or the entire day.  What stands out as something you are especially grateful for?  Be specific.
Something someone said to you?

A good breakfast?

These are all gifts from God; tell God thanks for these gifts.

3.  Ask yourself where God seemed to be especially present to you. 

Pay attention to your feelings.

Where did you experience or witness love?  Forgiveness? 

4.  Ask yourself where God seemed to be hidden or even absent.

Why do you think that was the case?

Think about a time when you saw a need for love and didn’t respond as you feel you  should have.  Or about a pattern of behavior that seemed to distance you from God.

God is a God of forgiveness.  Ask for forgiveness for anything that your conscience brings to your attention.

Ask God to help you become the person you were created to be.

5.  Finally, think about what you are hopeful for, what are you looking forward to, or what you are not looking forward to today. 
Offer those things to God. Ask Him to bless those upcoming events. 

God will accompany you throughout the rest of the day.

Close with an Our Father.

I invite you to try the Examen for a few days and see if it is method of prayer that works for you.  

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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