The Light of Grace Is Always Shining

A couple of afternoons a week, I bring my work to a local coffee shop. It gives me a chance to get out of the home office, attack a problem in a different setting, and get a gorgeous view of Lake Washington. Sometimes I put on headphones, drowning out the coffee-shop conversation, but sometimes, I’ll keep my ears open for quirky banter. Like today, when the barista and a customer shared a candid moment, and […]

The Awareness Prayer

This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. What does it mean to “find God in all things”? We’re all familiar with spiritual literature that speaks of finding God in nature, in art, in the birth of a child, and in many other concrete examples of creation—most of which we take for granted. The graces we pray for each day this week of our Ignatian Prayer Adventure emphasize a much deeper […]

An Examen at the End of a Relationship

When significant relationships come to an end, whether due to geographic distance, drifting apart, or brokenness through conflict, we have the task of integrating that relationship into our memories and identities. As Christians, we are formed to be people who exist in loving community, always reconciling mercifully with one another, but at times human limits prevent this from being possible. As we seek to make sense of where God is in broken relationships, an Examen […]

The Examen of the Future

The Examen is part of our tradition. Usually thought of in terms of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, it has emphasized watching sins and failings. That emphasis was deepened by our post-Enlightenment emphasis on rules and counting things. The whole thrust of discernment as a spirituality for the twenty-first century has parted from that. We have opened ourselves deliberately and boldly to finding how the Holy Spirit is leading us here and now. Before we get […]

The Steps of the Examen

Today let’s explore the Examen through the lens of brief reflections pertaining to each step. The steps in this version of the Examen match what is presented in A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer by Jim Manney. Ask God for light. If we attune ourselves to look and listen, we may find God present within us, all around us, and speaking to us constantly. But if we don’t bother to look, it will seem that there is […]

Becky Eldredge Explains the Examen

Becky Eldredge, dotMagis blogger and author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls, walks us through the steps of the Examen in this four-minute video. As Eldredge explains it, the steps are: Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help. Be thankful. Notice God’s presence. Notice the lack of God’s presence. Look to the future. For a peek into why Eldredge loves praying the Examen, watch her conversation with Paul Brian Campbell, SJ, here.

Stop-Sign Examen

It’s traditional to undertake the Examen in the middle of the day and just before bed, but for the last few weeks, I’ve found myself starting the day with a version of this reflective prayer. It starts as I watch yet another car blow through the stop sign at the edge of the neighborhood. Sometimes I honk; sometimes I sigh. Always, I am aware of God’s presence and grateful—as one should be at the start […]

Dare to Look Inside Yourself

Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, suggests the Examen as a tool to help us in daring to look inside ourselves. In explaining the steps of this foundational Ignatian prayer, Fr. Sparough tells us to pray from one or two dominant emotions: Those are the feelings that you especially want to pay attention to—those that are shouting at us and then those that are cowering, that say, “Don’t look at me.” Those are the ones we want […]

Not in Control

This post is based on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Recently I used one of the versions of the Examen found in Fr. Mark Thibodeaux’s book Reimagining the Ignatian Examen for my daily prayer. This particular Examen (Saving F.A.C.E.) invited me to take a close look at four things: My fears My attachments My need for control Illusions of entitlement It nudged me to take an honest assessment of my last few weeks […]

The Examen Curbs Anxiety

J. Michael Sparough, SJ, writes that “Cardinal Bernardin, the late, much-loved Archbishop of Chicago, once told a group of us priests that he was a chronic worrier. But he found that using the Ignatian Examen was of great benefit to him in curbing his anxiety.” Many others have also found the benefits of praying the daily Examen. If you’re praying through An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, this week invites you to reflect on the steps of […]

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