The text below is from Fr. James Martin, S.J. originally posted on his Facebook page August 27, 2012. As a Jesuit, a speaker, an author, a spiritual director who has guided others in the practice of the Examen and more importantly one who practices the Examine daily. I feel he is in a much better position than I to explain the Examen. Read, watch, and pray!

The examen, or examination of conscience, is a quick prayer to help you to see where God was active in your day. Usually done for fifteen or twenty minutes at the end of the day, the prayer was popularized by St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, in his classic text, The Spiritual Exercises.
Use these five easy steps to pray the examen every and soon you will begin to see God’s presence more easily.

1.      Presence: Remember that you are in the presence of God in a special way when you           pray. Ask God for help in your prayer.

2.     Gratitude: Recall two or three things that happened today
for which you are especially grateful. Savor them. Then
thank God for these gifts.

3.     Review: Review your day from start to finish, noticing where
you experienced God’s presence. Notice everything from
large to small: from an enjoyable interaction with a friend to
the feel of the sun on your face. When did you love?
Where did you love?

4.     Sorrow: You may have sinned today or done something you
regret. Express your sorrow to God and ask for forgiveness.
If it’s a grave sin, pray about seeking forgiveness from the
person offended, or the sacrament of reconciliation.

5.     Grace: You may want to return to a meaningful part of your
prayer and speak to God about how you felt. At the close of
the prayer, ask for God’s grace for the following day.

Over time, as you pray the examen, you’ll notice God’s presence in the moment, rather than just at the end of the day. You’ll see that your whole day can be a kind of prayer. Soon you’ll discover that you’ve become, as Jesuits like to say, contemplatives in action.

• Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Photo of mosaic accessed from:

A twenty minute video clip of Fr. Jim explaining the Examen:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s