The Examen: Contemplative Prayer Practice

Fridays in Lent: March 16 through March 23 at 5:30 pm
Followed by a simple meal of soup and bread.
The season of Lent is a season of preparation for the miraculous and life-changing resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our Lenten work then is reason to start again, return to those things that open us to Christ’s working in us, and, when we fall short, to begin again. And again and again. St. Ignatius of Loyola believed that we were called to find God in all things and at all times, so he never included specific times for prayer in the Jesuit Rule of Life. Rather, in his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius urged us to have a personal relationship with Jesus by opening ourselves to the presence of God throughout our day. And, at day’s end, St. Ignatius taught us to pray The Examen, from the Latin word for examination, which leads believers in a contemplative practice of reviewing our day in the presence of Christ. While there are many versions of the Examen today, all are based on five steps:
1. Placing yourself in God’s presence and giving thanks for God’s great love for you
2. Praying for the grace to see how and where God is acting in your life
3. Reviewing your day and whatever specical experiences come to mind
4. Reflecting on your thoughts, actions, or words in these instances
5. Looking forward to tomorrow and how you might want to do things differently