Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Daily Examen

I've been reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by one of my favorite authors, Fr. James Martin.

He spends part of the book explaining the Daily Examen - a technique developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help us see God in our daily lives.

St. Ignatius required the Jesuits to pray the Examen twice a day, but as Fr. Martin notes, even praying it once at the end of the day can have a very powerful effect on your spiritual outlook and the way you approach life.

There are many variations of the Examen - I wanted to share one of them with you here.

Step 1:  Recognize you are in the presence of God.
How often we forget that we are always in the presence of God as we get caught up in the minutia and craziness of our day to day lives!

Step 2:  Review your day, moment by moment.
Our days go by in a flash as we run from one task to another.  The goal here is to take the time and review each day and reflect upon the events (and notice those things you hurried past, or completely missed).  This step will help you with #3 and #4.

Step 3:  Give thanks.
Thank the Lord for all the graces and good things you received throughout the day - large and small.  (The first time I did this I could not believe how many times I overlooked God's presence in my day, or how many little things I should have been thankful for but almost missed.)

Step 4:  Realize where you failed.
Where did you sin?  Where did you miss an opportunity to do God's work?  What drew you away from Him?

Step 5:  Ask for forgiveness and resolve.
Tell God you are sorry for those times you let Him down, and ask for His grace to do better tomorrow.

This can be done at whatever pace you feel comfortable (Fr. Martin says even 15 min of quiet time can be enough), but the key is to give it your full attention and to do it every day.

It is a beautiful, but powerful, way to grow closer to God.

God Bless you.


Victor S E Moubarak said...

Thank you for this great advice Michael. I agree.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for another great post Michael! I hope you and your family have had the best Saint Valentine's Day ever! God bless you!