The Examen

God, my loving Mother and Father, is the God of all things. God is present and at work in every aspect of the world, in every bit of my family life and in every detail of my own experience.

I must let God be God. I must allow God to be the Lord of each and every part of my life. Therefore I will try to pay attention to God's presence, and to respond accordingly.

How can I do this? One suggestion is the following way of praying: it is a type of night prayer (though it can be done as easily at other times) that takes seriously the tendency many of us have to recall and reflect on the people, events and feelings that have been important to me during the day now drawing to a close.

  1. I become still

    I take time to become still and remember that I am in God's presence. Ask that this time with God, and all my life, might be directed solely to God's service and praise.

  2. I ask for wisdom and light

    I ask the father (or Jesus) to give me God's gifts of light and wisdom:

    • light, so that I can see clearly the day I am going to remember;
    • and wisdom, so that I can understand what I will see.

  3. I recall the day in gratitude and sorrow

    I let my mind drift back over the moods and feelings of my day. (I may want to remember the "quietly", or I may prefer to talk about them with Jesus in my own words; that's possibly better. I just want to do what seems better and more natural to me at the time.) This remembering of my moods ad feelings is quite likely to stir up within me feelings of both thanksgiving and sorrow.

    I feel drawn I feel driven
    Thanksgiving Sorrow
    When I feel comfortable in God's presence, while some event is becoming clearer in my mind, then I thank God. I enjoy and relish what brings me joy, what occasions gratitude. I repeat my thanks for the gifts God has given me. I thank God for the times I have let God's "glory" shine through (that is: God has worked through me). I may feel uncomfortable in God's presence with something that has happened. Then I express my sorrow to God and ask God to help me understand that experience. I resist the temptation to judge myself. I allow Christ himself to help me understand my moods, feelings and desires. And I remember that Jesus never refuses forgiveness. With total confidence, I ask God to forgive me the times I have obstructed or distorted the light of God's glory. (After all, sin is simply getting in God's way.)
  4. I look forward to tomorrow:

    and ask God to be with me in every detail of it.

    If there is something I particularly want (e.g. to grow in patience, or to be more trusting), and if there is someone whom I regularly find trying (e.g. the children, husband/wife, someone I live or work with), then I ask God to help me in these ways, especially tomorrow.

  5. I end my prayer:

    slowly, speaking from the heart to God who knows me as I am.

Other references: