Welcome to Day 4!
Today we are going to learn about a Christian practice called the Examen. This spiritual discipline was started by the founders of the Jesuit order St. Ignatius. He developed it as a means for self-examination so believers could better devote themselves and their lives to serving God.
We’ve been learning the importance of welcoming God into our presence, and now we will learn to look back at our day in a prayerful manner. It’s easy in our fast paced world to go from one day to the next without thinking about how each day eventually adds up to months, then years, then decades.
As believers we are called to live a life of purpose. Our days need to be intentional in order to live a purpose-filled life. It doesn’t mean filling our schedules with activities for every hour or neglecting self-care. Living with purpose means we follow God to where He is leading us. A purpose driven life is filled with the fruits of the Spirit and is never intended to be about only our self. We know that we live in community and our personal decisions and actions affect others.
None of us are perfect, and thankfully God doesn’t expect us to be. The daily Examen allows us to be grateful for the day, connect with God, and part take in non-judgmental self-examination so we can grow closer in our relationships with the Father.
In the later evening or before you go to bed, try the examen. Below is the easiest explanation and version of the daily Examen from Loyola Press: A Jesuit Ministry. You can also view pdf copies on how to do the Examen for beginners here and here.
How Can I Pray? Try the Daily Examen
A great way to pray is to look for God’s presence in your life. More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius of Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us.
Try this version of St. Ignatius’s prayer.
- Become aware of the presence of God.
- Review the day with gratitude.
Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights.
- Pay attention to your emotions.
Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Ask what God is saying through these feelings.
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may be a vivid moment or something that seems insignificant.
- Look toward tomorrow.
Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges.
St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus. Ask forgiveness for your sins. Ask for his protection and help. Ask for his wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude. (Source: Loyola Press.com)