The Examen is more of an attitude than a method. It is a review of God’s sustaining and endearing love touching our hearts in our everyday life. For many of us, we do not pause often enough to see where God is leading us in our day, and in our lives. By praying the Daily Examen, we are opening our hearts to discerning God’s presence in our lives through the movements of our heart throughout the day.

Before you begin the prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand with clarity your thoughts and motives, attitudes and actions. Pray for the grace you need.

Reviewing your Day with the Lord

Recall the gifts the Lord has given to you. Remember those events, encounters and things that gave you delight and joy, e.g. a good sleep, a nice breakfast, etc. Be specific about the events so that you can become conscious of His presence.
Consider how you met God in your daily life: places, events, persons and created things. Find God in all things. Choose at least one significant event and reflect in depth. Examine your habits and life patterns more than the acts. Focus on the interior disposition.

a. Nature: air, water, stars, sun, rain, clouds, rainbow, trees, flowers, fruits, insects, birds and animals
b. Man-made gifts: building, roads, bridges, electricity, air-conditioners, refrigerators, transport, electronics, computers, etc.
c. Persons: those you met today, those closest to you; family, friends and colleagues; the stranger, the underprivileged, the handicapped and the poor; the elderly, troubled, lonely and the sick; those in bereavement
d. Yourself: Become aware of your talents and gifts He has given to you. Consider the blessings that the Lord has bestowed on you e.g. health, work, friends. Review how you have made use of your five senses for the glory of God and the service of others
e. External Events: What are the local, world and current issues telling you? What kind of feelings are evoked in you? Review also the events that took place in your work, recreation and relationships. What have you learnt from them?
f. Inner Events (Feelings): Pay attention to the movement of your emotions and moods so that you can detect the absence or the presence of God. What are your positive and negative feelings today? Positive feelings towards God: gratitude, trust, hope. Positive feelings towards others: love, compassion, empathy, admiration, gratitude. Positive feelings towards oneself: joy, gratitude, confidence. Negative feelings: anger, resentment, fear, anxiety, lust, jealousy, disillusionment, disappointment, boredom, etc. What is God saying to you through these feelings? What do they reveal to you about your true self?

Awareness of sinfulness leads to contrition of heart. Feel the sorrow inyour heart and pray for forgiveness.
Focus on one virtue that you need to grow. Pray for those whom you have hurt or neglected. Pray for their inner healing.
Come to terms with yourself. Thank God for the mistakes, for through them you have grown in Christ-likeness. Decide specifically how you would want to respond the next time to the same situation. Consider what help or guidance you need to live in consciousness of His presence and love
Be quiet and allow the Lord to love you. Let Him speak to you. Listen to His words of assurance of His unconditional love. Imagine Jesus, the Good Shepherd embracing you in His arms. Thank Him and give glory to Him.

Conclude with Our Father and the Glory Be

The Daily Examen leads us to a gradual intimacy with God. Without mutual self-revelation, a relationship cannot grow. The same goes for our relationship with God. This practical prayer helps us to clarify God’s movement in our lives and, our own responses to it.

A Jesuit, Fr George Aschenbrenner, S.J. tells us “A superficial spontaneity is easy, but often neither maturely human nor profoundly spiritual. The real issue of human life is to be transformed into the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit. Something must die and be re-oriented if this new profound spontaneity is to be born. A whole asceticism of careful discernment develops this true spontaneity of the Holy Spirit. The Examen plays a central role in the development and assimilation of this new identity. The spontaneity of the Holy Spirit is always oriented to the continuing renewal of our universe, mirrored in the Risen Jesus, companion and pilgrim with us all every step of the way.”

There’s more…

This article is #3 of a series of 5:

  1. Introduction to Prayer: Why Pray?
  2. SOAP
  3. The Daily Examen
  4. Lectio Divina
  5. Ignatian Contemplation