The Daily Examen
The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.
The method presented here is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God, and that God wanted it to be shared as widely as possible. One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.
This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
For details about each step of the Examen, read How Can I Pray?
From the category archives of the dotMagis blog.
How to Make the Examen Part of Your Day
Pause to review your day in the presence of God with this six-session series led by Jim Manney, author of A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer: Discovering the Power of St. Ignatius Loyola’s Examen.
By Dennis Hamm, SJ
Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ, a scripture professor at Creighton University, calls the Daily Examen “rummaging for God.” He likens it to “going through a drawer full of stuff, feeling around, looking for something that you are sure must be there.” That’s an accurate description of what it’s like to pray the Daily Examen. We look back on the previous day, rummaging through the “stuff,” and finding God in it. We know he is there.
By George Aschenbrenner, SJ
Considered a classic. This is a reprint of the original 1972 article by Aschenbrenner exploring the how and why of practicing the Examen.
By David L. Fleming, SJ
The tools and methods of Ignatian spirituality, particularly the Examen, instill in us habits of prayerful, thoughtful reflection.
A six-minute video about the Examen, produced by the Jesuits of the California Province.
Simple and clear explanation of the Examen, focusing on what Ignatius intended when composing it.
Audio presentation (with accompanying images) of the Examen as it is presented each day to the students at Strake Jesuit College Prep in Houston.
Peter Filice, SJ, guides you through a Daily Examen.
Review of the Day (wma format) (3.9 MB)
The “Review of the Day” is an eight-minute Examen provided by the Jesuits in the UK. To play, click on the link above. To download, right-click on the link and choose “Save Target As” from the drop-down menu.
This follow-up video to “Examen” from St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco features a student trying out the Examen for himself. Several people think it is the best video they have seen about the Examen.
Variations on the Examen
By Paul Brian Campbell, SJ
An adaptation of the Ignatian Examen designed for managers.
A way of praying the Examen through Lent, with materials by Joseph Tetlow, SJ. Take up the practice of reflecting on your day, its gifts and graces, and the progress you are making in life with Christ.
Communal Examen (PDF)
By Philip Shano, SJ
The author describes a “communal” examen of consciousness, an exercise based on the realization that Ignatian spirituality is applicable to communities, not just individual men and women.
Ecological Examen (PDF)
By Joseph Carver, SJ
The Examen is presented from an ecological perspective.
Examen.me describes itself as a “modern approach to ancient devotional practices.” The site does not refer to Ignatius and, although its ownership is hard to trace, it is based in Fort Worth, TX. Examen.me offers six different types of examens, with only one being close to the traditional Ignatian version.
Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan guides the reader through a four-part version of the Examen, with questions and suggestions for proceeding.
Reflections on Praying the Examen
Based on an original article by Father George Aschenbrenner, SJ
This guide calls readers to take another look at the Examen through a consideration of the goal and shape of the prayer. It’s an abbreviation of an article by Aschenbrenner. The present format was prepared by Fr. John English and has been further amended by members of the British Province of the Society of Jesus.
By William Blazek, SJ
God is present in all things—even on the subway during the morning commute.
By Paul Brian Campbell, SJ
One image to consider in practicing the Examen is sitting on the sofa next to God.
As part of a conversational blog exchange about the Examen, Tom McGrath recounts a wonderful image about telling your story to God, who then tells your story back to you.
By Patrick E. McGrath, SJ
McGrath uses Dorothy Day’s quote, “I’m just happy to have had our good Lord on my mind all these years,” as a starting point for a brief article on the Examen.
Handouts on the Examen
A printable guide to the Examen which seems eminently suitable for beginners in Ignatian spirituality.