Years ago, Mark Thibodeaux, SJ, created the prayer app before he even knew it. The novice director for the Central and Southern provinces jotted down themed Examens in a Word document that he would pray from on his iPhone.
This year, his Word document turned into the Reimagining the Examen app. It offers a modern take on St. Ignatius’s 500-year-old prayer. Its Examens can be adapted to users’ particular needs and situations. With thoughtful reflections on relationships, pending decisions, times of transition, or gratitude, users can review their day with God wherever they are.
“Because of my own experience of using it, I just knew this would work,” Thibodeaux said. “And younger people are even more engaged with iPhones than I am, so it was a need I knew people had.”
The app is based on Thibodeaux’s book, Reimagining the Ignatian Examen, which offers 34 adaptable versions of the Examen. Loyola Press created the app to complement the book in February of this year. With soothing music and step-by-step guidance, users can choose from one of the themed Examens—picking the reflection that best fits their current state of being—or select the Examen of the day.
Thibodeaux said he uses the app daily, as have many campus ministers and fellow Jesuits.
“If there’s any prayer that can be called a prayer on the go, it’s the Examen. It just cries out for an app,” he said. “I did my Examen today on an airplane, using my iPhone, and I didn’t have to be showy about it. No one even noticed what I was doing.”
Paul Brian Campbell, SJ, the publisher of Loyola Press, hopes users will gain clarity, mindfulness, and grace from this small but mighty practice.
“Reimagining the Examen gives readers the opportunity to take Mark’s excellent book and apply it to their daily lives on the go. It is our hope that this life-giving practice will offer users exactly what they need in the moment and beyond,” he said.
Thibodeaux agrees: “Reimagining the Examen offers you the chance to engage with God right there in the middle of your busy day, right there at work, right there at school, and bring God into the nitty-gritty of your day.”