Nope, not a typo. The Examen is “an opportunity for peaceful daily reflective prayer” attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola. It is a spiritual practice used by many (inc. those who wouldn’t profess faith in God), “to find the movement of God (or the divine/sacred*) in our life.” Most particular in the day that has just passed or is coming to an end. *My addition.
Earlier this week, in the 1st full week of the year, I was encouraged, along with 3 others, to take out some time for quite reflection. The 1st part of which entailed having an hour + to yourself, with 3 suggested options of how to use that time. Of the 3, the Examen for the year seemed most fitting, or should I say the most feasible considering my mindset at the time. I was far far far away from feeling reflective, and actually didn’t know if I would be able to engage with it at all. In fact, at the start, while trying to find a spot to settle in, I was having to do a lot of challenging/admonishing myself to engage with the process and not grumble.
Thankfully, God was gracious. I found a comfy spot to sit in, I listened to a song ‘It’s Not Over‘ by Israel Houghton, that coincidently a friend emailed to me that morning, and paused.
The time passed quickly. My unfortunately not so great coffee was half drunk, my 2 bagel bites were completely eaten, and my 2 blank pages were full.
Something that was very telling, were the couple of questions that I struggled to answer. Something that was very clear, was that it has been a tiring year. Something that I wrote in hope, was that I would enter this year with a spirit of joy.
Why share all this? Well, this is the place for me to just write something, it may also be an ongoing part of me reflecting on the time, and it may possibly resonate with someone reading it.
Many people come into the new year with new year’s resolutions, but how many of us take a moment (amidst the end of year rush/deadlines/festivities/gatherings etc.) to truly reflect on the year that has passed? There is still time to do so.
For those interested, below I have copy-pasted the Examen I used. I’ve also included a link to a related YouTube video I happened across this morning.
Blessings for 2019.
For the Year
Adapted by Debra Mooney, Ph.D. from the Center for Mission and Identity at Xavier University’s Daily Examen
St. Ignatius Loyola’s Examen is an opportunity for peaceful daily reflective prayer. It invites us to find the movement of God in our life. The following is a reflective review of the past year. Before you begin, identify some major markers of your year, such as the semester calendar or events [eg, Commencement], to orient yourself to the time period.
The Examen is simply a set of introspective prompts for you to follow or adapt to your own character and spirit. Begin with a pause and a slow, deep breath or two; become aware that you are in the presence of the Holy.
As I review the past 12 months, from a year ago through to the present moment –
What am I especially grateful for this year?
An event that took place
Courage that I mustered
Love and support I received
I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.
Where have I felt true joy this year?
What troubled me this year?
What has challenged me?
Where and when did I find an opportunity for renewal and pause?
Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?
In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?
As I look ahead, to the coming months what comes to mind?
With what spirit do I want to enter the next few months, the next year?
I ask for God’s presence and grace, for this spirit, as I enter the next year