The Examen

[In the SSU community, one of the most widely used prayer exercises from Ignatian spirituality is the Examen. In the prayer book, Lorna suggests one approach to the Awareness Examen:]

1. In a quiet, private place…

  • light a candle
  • or imagine yourself in a favorite peaceful setting

2. Image yourself in the presence of God…

Take a few deep breaths… as you do this, allow yourself to feel the breath of life filling your whole body… Breathe in all of God’s unconditional love for you. Breathe out any
anxiety or negativity… Be aware now of this loving Presence that surrounds you… Remain centered in this Love for a few moments.

3. Ask the Spirit to bring to your awareness the moment today for which you are most grateful…

If you could relive one moment today, which would it be? Where were you? What was said or done that is drawing forth gratitude in you right now?… Ask God if there is

anything else He wants to say to you about this experience… Is there any way in which God might be calling you through this particular event in your day?

4. Now ask the Spirit to bring to your awareness the moment for which you are the least grateful…

Ask to see what was said or done in that moment that was so difficult for you… Be with this moment without trying to change it or fix it in any way. Invite God’s love into this
struggle place within you… Wait and ask God to show you how He is present in this experience too… how God is labouring for you there… perhaps inviting you to grow in
some way, to change, to forgive, to let go, to accept something about yourself or another… Be with God who never condemns, but reveals truth only to lead us to more life. Express sorrow if this seems called for – express your desire for saving love…

5. Give thanks for this time of awareness in the presence of God…

Because of what emerged, ask God for what you need or desire for tomorrow… perhaps to bring the meaning of this awareness Examen into your next prayer period… perhaps the need to celebrate someone in some way… perhaps to deal with some issue in your life…
perhaps the grace to discern a particular choice that will help you bring God’s love into a situation…

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