The Examen, For The New Year

If we understand what makes Pope Francis tick, he may become less incomprehensible to us but it may involve sacrificing our intellects to their Creator. Intellects can be prideful, but Sacrifice is always good.

Context of the Examen

The Examen is a popular way of praying and was developed by St. Ignatius Loyola
(1491-1556) ,founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits). He suggested that his brothers
undertook a daily way of praying by examining their lives so they could better serve God.
St. Ignatius stated that the key to a healthy spirituality was to find God in all things and work constantly to gain freedom in your life in order to cooperate with God’s will.

This daily exercise he called the Examen and he suggested that it should be prayed twice daily– with the practice allowing people to hear God in their hearts and with the daily practice be able to discern God’s will for them in their lives.

Making time for prayer allows you to fully feel God’s presence in your life and enter into a deeper more intimate conversation with Jesus. The Examen takes about 15mins to complete.

There a 5 simple steps and the prayer can be made anywhere. The Examen is a simple prayer, a prayer for busy people who are continually seeking to do God’s will.

Finding God in all things

“The Word of God is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance. See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster…Choose life.” (Dt 30:14, 15, 19)

This small prayer, the Examen of Consciousness, is the heart of the spirituality developed by St. Ignatius Loyola and his followers. If practiced once or twice daily, it will
help move you closer to the heart of Christ in all your thoughts and deeds.
It enables us to open our heart more fully to the will of God in our lives and recognise God’s presence in everything, as we go about our daily tasks.
(Adapted from “Examen of Consciousness: Finding God in all things” by
Phyllis Zagano)

Read the rest of this article here


About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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3 Responses to The Examen, For The New Year

  1. John says:

    This article could not have come at a better time for me, and is most helpful.
    As I continue in my formation, before eventual reception into the Catholic Church, I am increasingly reminded of many things, and many events in my life which now need to be faced; events which have been buried and suppressed over the years. Many Truths that I am aware of, and yet have ignored in the hope they will simply disappear, or be hidden amongst the clutter of daily life, even in my past ministry, choosing not to deal with them, and simply ignoring them, unaware of the damage they were causing to my soul, and the consequent estrangement from God that was resulting.
    Having been guided, by divine providence, towards the Catholic Church, and on entering its portals for the first time with a heart and mind that inexplicably found itself open to the truth and urgency of God’s will for me, I began a journey of deep personal exploration which has, and is proving to be painful and difficult.
    On my first interview with the Priest, when we talked about my reasons for being there, I remember quite clearly telling him that I wanted to “do things properly and well”, not fully realizing what that might entail, or the implications attaching to the simple phrase, but saying it with a genuine desire to become as good a Catholic as I could be ,and as, I had assumed, with the same honesty and openness of heart as when I was a practicing Anglican.
    I was soon to discover that in making this specific commitment, I had, through this priest, opened a door to God that could never be closed, for I had given voice and vitality to something which in my vanity, I had assumed to have been taken for granted in my previous life, but had never been uttered or spoken either in my heart or by my mouth. In fact, when I think about it, the practice of my faith had been as much, or perhaps more of a concept than a reality.
    Now the “Genie was out of the bottle” so to speak, and I knew immediately that this commitment needed to be carried through lest I dishonour God by breaking my promise.
    I knew that the path ahead would be rocky, and that I would have to deal with many aspects of conversion, though the reader might be forgiven for suspecting that the main issues may involve aspects of the practice of the Catholic Faith, Its Magisterium, Doctrines, Dogmas etc, and may be surprised to learn that this was not so. No, the most difficult part of the process has been in establishing a renewed relationship with Our Lord.
    The climax of our union with Christ is, for “orthodox” Anglicans (amongst whose numbers I have counted myself) and Catholics alike, is the Holy Eucharist; and I have been acutely aware of the absolute necessity of ensuring I am in clean and in a genuine state of Grace before receiving the Body of Christ, and I readily and joyfully submit to this entirely as being absolutely necessary, lest I profane the sacrament, thus it is, that with my first confession looming ever nearer, I have found myself increasingly absorbed in an examination of my past life.
    There is, and can be no escape from facing the truths about life. I made a promise, and God has seen fit to both support and encourage me on my journey, showing his love, and holding out his hands to such a degree that every day my desire to have him in my life grows stronger and stronger, and my pleasure in being with him before the altar at Mass, and in adoration before the Monstrance is an event that I both look forward to with relish, and come away from feeling elated beyond words, even though I am not yet receiving at the Eucharist.
    I know that this joy is born of my desire to please him and be faithful to him and his commands, and that he knows this and is giving me graces in return to strengthen me, which is why I feel the bitter sweet pain, of bearing my soul to him is becoming, if by no means easy, bearable, for there are things in my past life I have to deal with if I am going to keep my promise to be a “good” Catholic.
    In speaking the words of the promise to be a “Good” Catholic, I know that I must speak to God of those things I am most afraid, lest I profane the most holy sacrament. For me, my first confession will be a vital and absolutely necessary part of this, but because of what and who I am as an individual, and because I earnestly want to please God, nonetheless, it cannot be the whole story, since I am compelled to bring to the fore, so many things of the past that caused so much pain and anguish; things that involve the need for me to forgive as Our Lord forgives us, but which for me will be so very very hard to do.
    To deal properly and adequately with these spectres, I have taken the view after a lot of prayer (and I now believe this is what God wills me to do) that I must re live them, and interrogate and exorcize them fully before I can go to the Altar in the way in which Our Lord would want me to, with enmity towards no man; and this is why those first words of St Ignatius “Take Lord, and receive my Memory, my understanding” strikes such a chord in me, for this is what I earnestly need, this is my prayer.
    A 15 minute prayer will not suffice on this occasion, but the precept is the same, and so it was that I decided some time ago to allot myself a personal penance for my inability to forgive, by spending considerable time and mental effort, notwithstanding anguish, recalling those events in my life which caused, and still cause immense pain and writing them down in every detail, so as to re live the events again in the most intimate way, whilst gaining strength from spending time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, offering both the pain, anguish, and renewed sense of fear that the experience renewed, and now written down by my own hand, to Our Lord, with the prayer that in doing so it will have in the spirit of St Ignatius’ “Examene” move [me] closer to the heart of Christ in all [my] thoughts and deeds. Through the contemplative nature of what I hope is in itself a prayer, thus open[ing my] heart more fully to the will of God in [my life] and [will enable me to] recognise God’s presence in everything, as [I] go about our [my] daily tasks.


  2. dillydilys says:

    I was uncomfortable hearing this referred to by Ms Zagano as the examen of “consciousness” It made no sense in the context and I thought it might be a modernist twist on the original, and so I checked, and would refer those interested to the Examen of Conscience by Fr Hardon – more reliable imho.


  3. Gichon says:

    Dillydilys: I read both and I wish the Hardon document you reference was in an easier to read and store format. It’s a great writeup though. Yet, I connected with the powerful message from the Ms. Zagano PDF, it was easy to read, print and store in my Ignatius folder for future reference.

    Brother, is the photo yours with the great graphic quote yours?


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