Examen: Self-Reflective Prayer

Feb 5, 2017 ~ Prev | Intro | Next

Nearly 500 years ago, Ignatius of Loyola developed a set of spiritual exercises arising from his own experience of trying to discern where God was active in his life. From his writings the practice of examen, or self-examination, emerged. Ignatius’s idea was that it is often difficult to see where God is or is not present in the decisions you make at the moment in which they occur. But upon reflection, it is possible to see the fruits of those actions, both in terms of how they make you feel and what consequences result from them. Ignatius, who founded the Society of Jesus, directed his monks to examine themselves thrice daily to see when they could detect themselves turning toward God and when they had been turning away from God.

God of Transformation, Help me to see myself as you see me. Open my heart to be honest about my daily walk with you.

Think back through your day. As you contemplate your activities, thoughts, and feelings, sift through them as you consider the following questions.

What am I most grateful for during the day?

When did my thoughts, attitudes, and actions help spread love, joy, or justice?

What about the day do I regret?

When did my thoughts, attitudes, and actions help spread discord, resentment, or oppression?

What do my answers tell me about where I am drawing closer to God in my life? Where am I turning away? What is God calling me to be?

Lord, thank you for the grace to be honest with myself before you. Forgive me for those times I have fallen short of being the person you call me toward. Make me who you want me to be. Amen.