When I went for a silent retreat at Manresa two years ago, I came across the Prayer of Examen. I found it to be a good way of concluding a day. I even bought 2 books, one in English and one in Chinese. But I never really put it into practice. I’m glad that this time in retreat I finally got to try it under the guidance of a Jesuit brother. I will try to do it once a day. I want to keep it up!
The Prayer of Examen
- Place yourself before the Lord – Be still, and know that I am God (Ps 46:10).
Take as much time as you need to calm yourself interiorly and become aware that you are in God’s presence.
- Give thanks – look back at your day (or week, month, year) and give thanks to God for the blessings that you have received. Do not rush. Take your time to give thanks. Be thankful for all things, not simply those that you think you should be thankful for (the taste of that cake that you enjoyed, etc)
- Prayer for the Light of the Holy Spirit to guide you through the Examen so that you may see the day through God’s ‘eyes’.
- Finding God in All Things – God indeed is very active in our lives, though we often fail to recognize it. Go through your day chronologically, looking at your day through God’s ‘eyes’:
- when did I recognize God’s presence and accept the invitation to follow Him in a situation?
- how was my prayer today? Consolations/Desolations in prayer?
- how were my interactions with others? Was I generous? Peaceful? Kind? Good?
- try to remember the interior movements in those moments: joy, hesitation, frustration, peace, etc. How did you respond to them? Are there any trends that you are noticing?
- did I turn my back on the Lord at some point during the day?
- have I indulged in a particular weakness/sin/habit today that I am trying to overcome?
- did I lack in generosity, goodness, kindness, etc. towards others today?
- pay attention to interior movements – what ‘sets off the bomb’?
- Respond to God in Dialogue – talk with the Lord about your day. What bothered you the most? What did you find most consoling? Bring all your concerns, doubts, joys, etc. to God in a conversation.
- Prayer for Help for the next day – Give thanks to the Lord for showing you these things and ask pardon of God for your failings. Make a resolve for the next day – what will you try to improve (make a commitment)? Finish with an Our Father.