The Examen: The Great Recalibrator

January 27, 2019

We turn this week to how the Examen recalibrates our lives.

Some of you have heard me tell the story of the day we moved a piano into our home.  Due to the moisture in South Louisiana, a piano is supposed to be placed on an interior wall.  The only interior wall in our home that was long enough for the piano was on the second floor of our home. (Yes, I am aware of how crazy this is!!!)

It took four movers and my husband to get the piano up the stairs.  In order to make the turn at the top of the stairs, they had to stand the piano upright to get it through the door.  (I still cringe at the horrible sound it made when it got turned).  As you can imagine, when it was finally in place on its interior wall, it sounded awful when we attempted to play it.  Everything was out of whack and out of tune.  It needed tuning.

Thankfully, we were able to get a piano tuner to come to our home, and he worked his magic and tuned the piano.

It is not only pianos that need a tuning every now and then.  Many things in our lives need recalibration.  Just thinking around our own home, cabinet hinges need retightening form time to time as the use makes one side lopsided.  Handles come loose on dresser drawers and need to be tweaked.  Even my son’s video game controller for the Wii sometimes needs to be put down and recalibrated.

What about us?

We, too, need to be recalibrated.  The Examen is our daily prayer tool that helps us keep aligned and in tune with God’s voice in our life.  It not only makes us more aware of how God speaks and moves in our own lives, but it also grows our understanding of where we are likely to mis-step and get out of line with God’s voice in our life.

This is why I call the Examen, the great re-calibrator.  Every day taking the time to review my day helps me see what I did and who I was around that bore the fruits of the Spirit into my life.  As I name them, I am more able to embrace them and do more of what brings me life.  I can also see common patterns of sin in my life through daily looking at my words and my actions.  I am also able to name where I am struggling to feel God’s presence in some of the dark spots of my life.

In addition, the Examen helps me see patterns over time that help me discern the calls of God in my life.  This is why I often suggest people pray a daily Examen when they are seeking to make a decision in their lives.  It allows us to name the movements of consolation and desolation in our lives.  Over time, naming this each day helps us find the path forward God is inviting us to take.

Go Deeper?

Cultivating Space for God Together:

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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