The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to see God’s presence and power, and to discern his direction for us. It is adapted from the technique described by St. Ignatius Loyola in his book Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius suggests that the Examen be practiced twice a day, once at noon and once at the end of the day.
The Daily Examen has five steps:
- Become aware of God’s presence. Close your eyes and open yourself up to the Holy Spirit. Offer the events of the day up to the Lord, asking him for clarity and understanding.
- Review the day with gratitude. Walk through the day with God, and notice the small joys and delights it holds. Pay attention to the small things – your interactions with people, the food you ate, and meditate on the joy in those moments.
- Pay attention to your emotions. We can detect the Holy Spirit in the movements of our emotions. Reflect back on the feelings you felt throughout the day, both positive and negative. Did you feel happiness? Contentedness? Compassion? Anger? Fear? Boredom? Ask God to show you what he’s saying to you through these emotions.
- Choose one piece of the day and pray from it. Ask the Lord to direct you to something that happened in your day that is particularly important. It could be an emotion – positive or negative. It could be an interaction with another person, or a realization you had. Or it may be something that is seemingly unimportant. Pray about it. Allow your prayer to rise organically – whether a prayer of praise, repentance, intercession or gratitude.
- Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to lead you through tomorrow’s joys and challenges. Pay attention to the emotions that come up when you look toward tomorrow. Are you nervous? Worried? Excited? Turn these emotions into your prayer. Ask God for help and for hope.
St. Ignatius encouraged us to talk to Jesus as a friend. End the Daily Examen by talking to Jesus, asking for forgiveness, for protection, for wisdom, for anything. Do this in a spirit of gratitude.
Visit www.sacredspace.ie for a guided Daily Examen time.