This past Sunday we continued in our series on prayer, we centered our conversation around the prayer practice of the Examen, which is a practice that is implemented in particular in the Jesuit tradition. If you’re like me, I mean a human like me, then you have likely experienced moments and seasons where your mind and heart are full. In the busyness of life, and through seasons that are emotionally and spiritually hard, I often find that it is difficult to sleep at night. The reason that sleep is often challenged, when our minds and hearts are full, is because we struggle to find the moments of rest, and places where we can process the day.
The prayer practice of the Examen allows us to rest our minds and hearts for a few minutes, so that we can center ourselves in God’s presence, while praying through the real moments, emotions, and rhythms of our day. That is why I recommend practicing the Examen. As you begin using this prayer technique, try using it toward the end of your day.
If you google the Examen you will find some different wording around the five steps, but they’re mostly similar to one another, so I am including a version at the end of this reflection, for you to use for your practice. I hope you find it meaningful. Additionally, there are five steps, because as a visual you could remember each step as a finger/thumb on your hand.
Whether you implement the Examen, or not, is up to you. However, I hope/pray that you find the tools that you can utilize prayerfully, that can afford you the space in heart and mind that you need to rest, be, breathe, and be aware of the presence of God that is all around us.
Blessings, and see the steps of the Examen below
There are five steps to the Examen as it appears in the Spiritual Exercises (n.43) of St Ignatius Loyola:
1 Give thanks
Spend a few moments in gratitude for the gifts and blessings of the day.
2 Ask for light
Ask God to enlighten you, showing where he has been at work and present in your day through events, people and places.
3 Examine the day
Review the moments of the day, noticing what has led to consolation and what has led to desolation and my reactions to these events, people and places (see below on consolation and desolation).
4 Seek forgiveness
Ask God’s forgiveness for the times when you have acted, spoken or thought contrary to his grace and calling for you.
5 Resolve to change
Decide what in your behaviour or attitude you will try to improve tomorrow.
The examen might take 10 to 15 minutes to complete but can also be done in a much shorter time.
Retrieved from: https://jesuitinstitute.org/Pages/Examen.htm