About a month ago I had the privilege of going on a personal retreat in Chicago at a Jesuit retreat house.* During the retreat, the leader took us through the “Daily Examen.” The Examen was developed in the 1500’s by St. Ignatius of Loyola and was a form of spiritual self-review.
St. Ignatius designed the Examen to be done at the end of the day, but it is also a great exercise to perform in the morning looking back on the previous day, or week or month or spiritual “season” even.
As I’ve practiced it off and on the last month, it’s been beneficial to my walk with God, so I wanted to outline the five steps below. Feel free to experiment and share with others – I hope it draws you nearer to Jesus!
The Daily Examen
1. I quiet my mind and my heart for prayer. I believe in God’s presence with me…
2. I offer gratitude to God for the blessings of the day and begin by savoring my gifts (note: savor – really let His gifts sink in to your soul – when you savor food you let it linger, you don’t just swallow it quickly).
3. I review the events of the day noticing the feelings that surface: my hopes, fears, regrets, joys and sorrows.
4. I pray from the feelings that surface: talking to God as a friend, listening with my heart for God’s response of love.
5. I look forward in hope, asking for the grace to better serve God.
Conclude by praying, “Our Father…”
*Thanks to my friends at the Bellarmine Retreat House for the concise bookmark form of the Examen. For info on Bellarmine, click here.