An Examen for the Third Week of Lent

From Ashes to Glory - Find GodThis post is part of the Lenten series “From Ashes to Glory.”

The Word

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

—Mark 12:28-31


Honest self-examination will not go on long without love—love of God and of one’s self. And love flourishes only in truth, truth not about ourselves only, but about ourselves and others. Here’s a scary question: how interested am I in those persons God gives me? How much care do I show for them? Interest and care bind others to us and us to them, as God wishes. They are the runway to love.

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.
Had I good things to achieve, and did I get to them?
Am I deliberately breaking a law? Must I feel guilt at something done or left out?
Where do I see my spirit—trusting the Holy Spirit or anxiously focused on self?

4. Anything Wrong?
I acknowledge boldly what I have done, repenting any failures.
I wonder whether I refuse to look directly at something I feel may be wrong.
I feel the sorrow of any wounded relationship.
I repent of any even partial infraction of a commandment.

5. What Now?
I look forward in hope.
What am I to do now? What do I have to avoid?


I watch how You forgive, Lord Jesus,
asking the Father to forgive
and telling Him the reason to forgive:
“They do not know what they are doing.”
Was that as hard for You to say
as it has at times been hard for me?
I need Your compassion, Lord,
when I try to figure out
how they could have hurt me
so hard and callous,
a nail driven into my life.
O Lord, was it just as hard for You?

Previous articleExamining the Day and Choosing Freedom
Next articleMirrors of Dangerous Grace
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. Fr Joe , your 3rd Lenten week exam blog was just what I needed to read and ponder early this morning before work .
    Your gifted and inspiring writing blesses me just like the amazing years of your teaching our Emmaus group in Grand Coteau ,La did . Thank you for generously sharing your talents even into your 90’s .God bless you Fr.Joe .😉

  2. What was I trying to do? Who did I think I was? The tribune of the people? Of course, but I was so very ineffectual and, of course, unappreciated. “He meant well” was just about the best that can be said of my life and its efforts. He meant well. I had a chip on my shoulder too. That cam from pride. “I never picked cotton . . . . ” Thank G-d my toothache has abated and the snow melted slowly. A shalayim offering.

  3. Fr. Tetlow’s prayer is incredible. I have used that prayer previously and it is powerful – very healing to accept that a person who has hurt us doesn’t really know what they are doing. Thank you.

  4. Third week in lent , oh how it is so easy to forget why we are here the Greatest Father anyone can have, gives us choices and as all children we forget. HIS GREATEST LOSS a son who humbled himself for US???
    Divine in nature God ! Oh father forgive me this simple dirt beneath my own feet , me a sinner let me hear Your spirit speak in my heart let me continue to see as I do as if props all around , knowing they our placed for my journey here .
    Let me be lead as He deems . Gracious father , oh dearest Love give me wisdom to know how and when to speak I love you……


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here