Developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Daily Examen is a powerful technique to review how we either live out our faith through the fruit of the Spirit or are preventing the fruit of the Spirit working through our lives. The Examen is often done at the end of the day for about 15-20 minutes or can also be done in the morning for the previous day’s events. Ultimately it is a way of life rather than a short reflection. If we change our awareness and habits, we will change our bodies, brains, and the world.
Start with Surrender – Slow down and pray: Lord, I am Yours. I Pray that my life is an expression of Your will. (Take several deep breaths and as much silence as you need to quiet your mind.)
Thankfulness – What gifts from God are there in my day for which I give thanks?
Review – What one or two ways has God worked through me today? (Linger especially on the feeling in your body of how God has worked through you today in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control).
What are one or two ways that I have not allowed God to work through me today? (Where have I created indifference, craving, anxiety, impetuousness, hate, ignorance, untruth, prejudice, or volatility? Again concentrate on the feelings in your body. Be mindful of the feelings as if you are doing research or observation. The goal here is to be mindfully aware so that we can remove ourselves from automatic thoughts and actions. Rather than an exercise to punish ourselves for these feelings, use this opportunity to reflect on where God might instead be calling you.
Forgiveness – Lord, I am thankful for the times that I loved generously today, and am sorry for when I did not. I pray for ways to reconcile with those I may have hurt.
Grace – Holy Spirit, I pray for Your fruit to grow in me, my enemies, friends, and neighbors.
I pray for one or two specific ways to help me and others grow in Your love tomorrow. I thank You for the ways You have inspired me.
I complete my time of examination by praying intentionally. An excellent prayer to use to close your time of reflection is the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.