HomedotMagisExamenAn Examen for Ash Wednesday

An Examen for Ash Wednesday

From Ashes to Glory: An Examen for Ash WednesdayThis is the first in a series of posts “From Ashes to Glory.”

The Word

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

—Matthew 6:5-8


I am created in the image of a God who is One. I am unique. The Father loves me personally. I thank God for who I am.

1. Give Thanks. I thank God for this day, for my life, for all I am and have, and for His Word.

2. Pray for Light. I ask the Father to let me see my day as the Holy Spirit sees it, and to show me what I need to see.

3. Find God. I look at my day in the light of the Spirit.

What have I done?
Did I do what I had planned?
What happened that wasn’t planned? How did I respond?
What did my heart tell me?

4. Anything Wrong?

Have I been anxious? Sad? Focused on myself?
Does something in a relationship need to be addressed?
Have I been ungrateful?

5. What Now?

What do I need from God today?
What do I need to do today? Tomorrow?


When I go now to my inner room,
God my Father, Creator of my inmost self,
I go with ashes on my forehead and in my soul
for what I have done
and for the little love I return to You.
Is it repentance enough that I accept as mine
the burden laid on all of us by all of us?
May I embrace as my own and offer to You
the sufferings of the world that invade my day—
the child in terror, the man without work,
the woman wrapped in oppression and disdain?
Let me feel the grief that weighed like lead on Jesus’ heart
and know His unyielding love for me.

Joseph Tetlow, SJ
Joseph Tetlow, SJ
Joseph Tetlow, SJ, has spent his life sharing the message of Ignatian spirituality. His books Choosing Christ in the World and Always Discerning are considered classics of modern spirituality. Fr. Tetlow continues lecturing and writing. His latest book is Considering Jesus. He resides at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas.


  1. I appreciate the recommended facets for the examen today and am drawn to petitioning the Holy Spirit to “show me what I need to see” and then reflecting on how I responded to what happened that was unplanned.

  2. Thank you for making go deep inside. For the self evaluation. I am empowered to pray better during this Lenten Season. I love this, ‘When I go now to my inner room…
    I go with ashes on my forehead and in my soul
    for what I have done
    and for the little love I return to You’. Lord, help me during this holy season to see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.

  3. Thank you for this introduction to a beautiful, solemn and blessed time of year. As others have posted, Lent is a time for new beginnings. Some doors may close but others will open. Let us all share our faith, receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and remember this too shall pass but the reign of God is eternal

  4. Fr. Joseph Telow’s prayers and reflections are always inspiring
    and uplifting.Thank you for posting. I listen to his retreats
    In CD’s.He is one of the best as one of a Jesuit freind commented.
    Thank You again.

  5. I struggle in my prayer life, but i want this lenten season be a different journey for me. I want to commit for the next 40 days to be faithful in my prayer and listen to God’s message for me

  6. This examined is just what I needed today. I am familiar withFr John Tetlow. I have used Choosing Christ in the world as I. Have us ed many times helping people do the 19th anotatioin.

  7. thank you for the postings, I have found the earlier pieces very helpful for the small refection groups in our parish community. This lent and the invitation to mercy in action… these refection will definitely nourish our communities prayer and response to ministries.

  8. This Lent I hope for new beginnings. To acknowledge peoples talents,abiltites and daily struggles. I think we look for heros, and when those heros dissapoint us, because they are human it feels like everything is lost.John the Bapist thank you , for bring us all closer to Jesus.
    Fikile, South Africa

  9. Thank you for existing. I am an IVC volunteer and recieved the invtation to check out your resources for Lent. You made my day. I was able to start this journey with focus and direction.
    I am the breath of God. My actions speak to my desire to live true to God’s will for me and for the Kingdom here and now.
    Love, Freedom and Purpose say it all. I have been called. I do not fear. I know my God loves me. I am grateful to be present.
    I just concluded my day with my Examin. I am grateful for today. I am hopeful for tomorrow and all that it brings. I am striving to be fully alive. My life is my prayer. Thank you.

    • Thank you God for giving me this opportunity of listening for obedience to your will.for trying not to worry,and giving myself to your desire.for trying to be an example….in follow without ask.


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