12 Comments on The Examen Is One of My Favorite Prayers
Jim, my day doesn’t feel complete unless I pray the Examen and I think the reason for that is that the prayer really helps me to put the day into what I hope is God’s perspective. I am very grateful that the Lunchtime Examen is still available because I use that every evening. I know I could pray the Examen without it but the Lunchtime Examen keeps me on track and helps me to organize my thoughts and feelings about the day.
After a few years on the Examen front I note that when I have very little to review in a day, that indicates need for nudge, usually in the writing department. It’s an inadvertent means of catching myself slide into inertia. God will utilize any means to get our attention.
For a couple of years we have done the Examen with our children. We started by using the Linn’s book, Making Heart Bread. My youngest often says that doing the Examen together is her favourite time of the day.
I have found that, over the years I have done it for myself, it has increased my awareness of when I am drawing closer to God and where I am pulling away. It helps me make sense of every aspect of my spiritual life.
Thank you for sharing with us about the “Examen” I find it really helpful to look at my day with more clarity and awareness and sensitivity. Every little thing and act is a prayer in itself. I become more aware of the hurt I can cause to another. What I appreciate most with the Examen is that doing it at anytime of the day, becomes innate in oneself.
I’m new to Ignatian stuff. The dotMagis blog has provided many helpful introductory materials, for which I am grateful.
I have a question:
Is “the examen” to which you refer equivalent to “the general examen” in the Exercises?
If so, your description (and many others) of it seems broader than what is actually found in the Exercises. Ignatius seems more narrowly focused on sin. How would you explain the difference? Or is my perceived contrast incorrect?
As found on the CCEL site:
First Point. The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.
Second Point. The second, to ask grace to know our sins and cast them out.
Third Point. The third, to ask account of our soul from the hour that we rose up to the present Examen, hour by hour, or period by period: and first as to thoughts, and then as to words, and then as to acts, in the same order as was mentioned in the Particular Examen.
Fourth Point. The fourth, to ask pardon of God our Lord for the faults.
Fifth Point. The fifth, to purpose amendment with His grace.
The process of the examen prayer is not to be caught up with all the rules and regulations of the ptayer itself. I don’t think that was ignatius point. The fact of the matter is to be totally honest with God and yourself. If you don’t follow the prayer step by step that is ok. In fact one may stay on any one sstep and be perfectly content with that for a long period of time.. he may stay with it for a whole day– for example i may stop at gratitude being grateful for anumber of things. I can rest there for quite some time before moving on to the next step. Praise Jesus for this wonderful prayer that he revealed to st. Ignatius.
My Spiritual Director and I are creating my 31 day retreat with the Examen. Reading through the materials, it seems daunting for a lay person. Because of health reasons, I really can’t wake at midnight or physically fast
Is there a way to adapt this? Also, since our time and God’s time are different May the weeks be spaced out to allow more time? Thank-you for your help.
Kay, the Spiritual Exercises have been adapted in many ways to meet the needs of people. The retreat in daily life spaces out the Exercises over a course of eight or nine months, for instance. A book like The Ignatian Adventure or Retreat in the Real World (also available as an online retreat) can help guide you through the multi-week retreat.
Kay, the Spiritual Exercises are a retreat that can be done in about 31 days, or spaced out in daily life as I mentioned. The Examen is a prayer that can be done in about 15 minutes each day. For details on how to pray the Examen, see: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen. It is one of the suggested prayers in the Spiritual Exercises retreat.