It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen helps us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.
Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ, a scripture professor at Creighton University, calls the Daily Examen “rummaging for God.” He likens it to “going through a drawer full of stuff, feeling around, looking for something that you are sure must be there.” In other words, we look back on the previous day, rummaging through all the “stuff,” and finding
God in it.
These are the five steps of the Daily Examen, We'd love to hear about your experience with it!
1. Ask God for Light: Become aware of God’s presence. Look at your day with God’s eyes, not merely your own. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.
2. Give Thanks: Review the day with gratitude. The day you have just lived is a gift from God. Be grateful for it. Walk through your day and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Pay attention to small things.
3. Review the Day: Pay attention to your emotions. Carefully look back on the day just completed, being guided b God. We detect God in the feelings we experience. What feelings did you experience today: Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? What was God saying through these feelings?
4. Face Your Shortcomings: Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Face up to what is wrong in your life and in yourself. Examine an experience or mistake and what you learned from it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart.
5. Look Toward the Day to Come: Look toward tomorrow. Ask where you need God in the day to come. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up? Allow these feeling to turn into prayer and ask God for guidance, understanding, and hope.
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