“As you review the morning, afternoon, and evening, notice moments of love and grace.”
What Is A Daily Examen?
So many of us go to bed at night with the day racing through our minds. We need a way to both reflect and let go. A daily examen is one way to to this. By reviewing the day that has passed, and preparing for tomorrow with the expectation of God’s continued care, we create the habit of really turning our lives over to God.
Ignatius of Loyola called this practice a direct gift from God and included it in his Spiritual Exercises. This simple, structured prayer time is a means of noticing grace and love in all parts of our day, public and private. Over time, the examen can also assist us in discerning divine invitations – for example, the need to repent, or respond in new ways to God’s call.
- A quiet, uninterrupted space.
- Optional: A guided examen, available as streaming audio or podcast. Especially helpful when getting started.
How To Do It
- Invite God. Find a private space, and get comfortable. Invite God to guide you in remembering your day. Whatever your day has held, know that God’s love attends you as you look back.
- Notice the gifts. As you review the morning, afternoon, and evening, notice moments of love and grace. Give thanks for the many gifts that you received, as well as the gifts that you shared. These don’t have to be big, dramatic gifts – you may notice simple moments that feel peaceful, joyous, or comforting.
- Notice the sins. Reflect on the times throughout the day when you made choices you regret, or sinned by things ‘left undone.’
- Look to tomorrow. Ask for more of God’s light in the following day. Pray for God’s help in making different choices tomorrow. End your time by giving thanks for God’s presence throughout the examen practice that you just completed.
Guided Examens Online
Pray as You Go Narrated Daily Examens. Pray as You Go is well known podcast. These guides are free streaming audio files, which walk you through an examen process, set to music. There are several options, including a children’s examen, and an examen for young adults.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. This webpage offers a wealth of resources on learning more about Ignatian spirituality, as well as practical articles and guides.
Di McCullough is a trained spiritual director and healthcare chaplain, and is currently working as a totally untrained parent of a preschooler. She lives with her husband and son in Columbus, Ohio.