An Annual Examen
By Charlotte Phillips
In Ignatian Spirituality, one prayer St. Ignatius invites and encourages people to pray is the “Examen,” which is simply a prayer to reflect over the past 24 hours of our lives. We can also pray an annual Examen over the last year.
As we prepare to begin a new liturgical season, or in a few weeks a new calendar year, consider praying an Examen over the last year.
As you begin the Examen, I invite you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the last year as God saw it.
Now imagine Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit right there with you as you reflect on the last year, the last 12 months of your life. Standing there with God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit, notice what are you thankful for during the last year? What big and small moments are you grateful for? Take a moment now to prayerfully thank God for these moments.
As you review your year again, still seeing it with that image you have of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit, where did you feel the presence of God? Over the last year, what has helped you to see Christ? When did you feel an increase of faith, hope and love? When did you experience joy, gratitude or peace?
When over the last year did you experience God’s love?
Reviewing your year again, still in the presence of God, or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, where did you not feel God’s presence? What has kept you from seeing Christ? When did you feel a decrease of faith, hope and love? When did you experience temptations, a clangy-ness or maybe even physical tension in your body? When over the last year did you experience a moment of feeling far away from God’s love?
As you look forward to the next year, what grace do you need, do you seek to help see the presence of God? What grace do you need to help you see Christ? As you continue to imagine standing there with God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit, what grace do you seek as you move into the new year?
Thank God for this time together in prayer. Close your time in prayer with an Our Father.