Daily Step – Have you tried the Ignatian Examen?


Today I get to start up again with an Examen group for the first time in months, and I’m excited to begin.

What’s the Examen?

I know it means many things to many different people. It’s been used secularly as well as spirituality. But it originates from St. Ignatius and the Spiritual Exercises.

Essentially, the Examen is a prayer of noticing. It’s a prayer of paying attention. It’s a prayer of pause and quiet and contemplation in the midst of my hectic day. 

It’s the prayer that Ignatius wanted his men to pray twice daily no matter what.

So how do I pray the Examen?

There are many forms the questions take, but here’s a typical rundown.

❤️I pause, inviting the Holy Spirit to enter my heart and help me examine my day.

❤️I start with gratitude – what am I grateful for today?

❤️Then, I move onto reviewing my day – where did I see God clearly, where was God harder to find?

❤️I ask for forgiveness if there are moments I see in my day so far where I need to be forgiven.

❤️Then, I look ahead – what’s coming up for me? How can I be attentive to God’s presence in these upcoming moments?

❤️Finally, I invite God to accompany me in what lies ahead.

As I was sitting with this quote from Mary Oliver this morning, I couldn’t help but think of the Examen. It’s a prayer that reminds me to never stop looking. But not just looking, as Mary Oliver says, but looking with arms wide open to the grace God wants to offer me.

It’s grace that is freely given all day long, if I only pay attention.

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