Praying the Examen
Do you desire to daily spend time with God in prayer, only to find this to be a challenge due to the many pressing demands of hectic everyday life clamoring for attention? Setting aside a few minutes of undistracted quiet, in the evening perhaps, and praying the Daily Examen can help deepen our relationship with God and to discern His Will for us. This prayer is a beautiful reflection upon the events of the day and will help us recognize God’s touch in the ordinary occurrences of our everyday life.
It is recommended that you practice doing examen, at least twice a day. This is not an intellectual exercise. It is a prayer. Do not feel compelled to use the same words given here unless they are helpful. In the beginning, they may be helpful, but as you become comfortable, use your own words.
How gentle and loving is Your awakening, O Bridegroom Word,
in the center and depth of my soul…
Awaken and enlighten me, my Lord, so I might know and love
the blessings You ever propose to me,
and I might understand that You have moved to bestow favors on me
and have remembered me.
St. John of the Cross, Living Flame, 4:3,9
Father, I rejoice in Your love for me. You thought of me and so loved the idea of me that You created me. Each moment You are at work, loving me into existence. Thank You, Father for accepting me as I am. (Here, I thank God for any speÂcial gifts I received this particular day e.g. the weather, a good book, a holy desire, a good joke, the ability to hear His voice and/or see Him working … etc.)
Father, You know me better than I know myself. Please help me be aware of how You worked in and around me today. I wish to respond to Your call for me, with obedience and love. However, for me to follow Your will, I first need to know it. Please help me listen and hear the voice of Your Spirit in me that I may see how You see me.
In this section you ask yourself some questions as you go through the previous few hours since your last examen. You think of the answers as you are guided by the Spirit.
An example of these questions could be as follows:
1. How am I feeling right now? Why?
2. Is this leading me to God or away from God?
3. How did God manifest His love for me in the last few hours?How did I respond? Was there anything lacking?
4. What did I do to show my love for God?
Father, thank You for Your care and guidance in the last few hours. I am sorry for the ways in which I was not sensitive to Your Spirit in me. I love You, Lord, and You know where and how I need healing and forgiveness. I surrender myself to You completely (Here one is to be specific as well).
5. TOGETHER LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Father with hope I look to the future. You accept me the way I am and You allow me to grow. You give me time and grace, opportunity and space. I place the time between now and my next examen in your hands. I ask you to make me more sensitive to Your Spirit in me. May my life between now and then be united to the life of Your Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus (Here one is to be specific as well: What is in the coming hours I want to discuss with the Lord, to lift up in prayer, … etc.).
“As I go forward with You, Lord,
please strengthen the quiet voice of my conscience,
Your own voice, in my life.
Look at me as You looked at Peter.
Let Your gaze penetrate my heart
and indicate the direction my life must take…
Grant me, ever anew, the grace of conversion.”
Adapted from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Way of the Cross, 2005