The Challenge of the Examen

teatime suppliesL. White, who blogs as the “Still Practising Catholic,” experimented with prayer journaling the Examen. She found it challenging to notice areas of her life that might need to change:

One small example is at the Weekend the alarm goes off in the morning and I cajole my husband into getting out of bed and making me a cup of tea. He doesn’t work at the weekend and I realised that I was cutting his time of equally deserved rest. Going through the examen I realised that this was a behaviour I was not happy with and that I felt was in a small way failing God. So I resolved to get up and make my own tea and one for him as well and I could keep track of these small successes (apparently he thought I was just being impatient…oops!) It also made me dwell on the small moments of the day when I felt blessed such as time with a friend I so often take for granted.

What has been your experience praying the Examen?

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  1. For my evening examine I asked “when did I show grace today?” I work as a manager in a retirement and care home. As I pondered the question several of the day’s interactions with residents came to mind. I promptly dismissed the occasions as that is my job that I am paid for. In response to my dismissal came the reply, “just because it is part of your job is it not still grace?”

  2. I have been keeping a daily journal since 1995. My evening prayer starts with the Liturgy of the Hour and ends with my journal. The first time I learned about St. Ignatius’ Examen, I was pleasantly surprised to see how similar it is to what I have been doing for years in my journal. For me, it is a combination diary, examination of conscience and a personal, intimate chat with my Lord. I discuss serious matters with him, all my concerns and anxieties, as well as my joys and pleasures, and occasionally, I share a joke with Him.


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