One of the ways we become more reflective is through the “Daily Examen”. We take ‘time out’, usually at the end of the day, to get in touch with our feelings and the movement of the Spirit of God within us. We turn to God in prayer as we reflect on the day. While the “Spiritual Exercises” refers to a longer and in-depth retreat experience, the basic process of reflecting on daily life can be used individually, in a family or small group. We follow a simple routine, presented as follows with the words of Mary Ward. (prepared by Rachel McLoughlin):
God is the source of all good, and all good comes from Him.
– Mary Ward –
I give thanks (3 min)
I become aware that I live in the stream of God’s love – where all is gift. I notice what has happened in my day, recalling its gifts large and small, and allow gratitude to well up in me.
I saw there was no other help and no other comfort for me than to go close to Him. That I did and He was there to help me. – Mary Ward
I ask for help (1 min)
I make a prayer to the Spirit for help to discern my day with openness.
God’s work – the beginning, middle and end. – Mary Ward
I review (7 min)
I carefully search out how God is working in my life, moving hour by hour through my day, I look for experiences that console or give me inner peace. Conversely, are there experiences that desolate or deaden me?
What disturbs me inwardly and makes me troubled does not come from God, for the Spirit of God always brings with it freedom and great peace. – Mary Ward
I had no other desire than to give myself over in all these difficulties and place myself with these uncertainties into the hands of God. – Mary Ward
I respond (2 min)
I respond to what I experienced in the last point. I might give thanks or express sorrow.
I might feel wonder, sadness or sheer delight. I am in relationship.
Let it be, O Jesus,
Jesus grant it. I will do my best. – Mary Ward
I resolve (2 min)
I consider the loving way forward tomorrow. I may desire growth or change.
I may want to live some virtue. I resolve to do my best and surrender the outcome to God.
As Gerard Manly Hopkins, English poet and Jesuit, once wrote, I greet him the days I meet him / And I bless him when I understand. – The Wreck of the Deutschland.
Other Examen structures
Feature Image: Mary Ward country in Yorkshire