The Examen

Finding God in All Things

There is much we can learn from St. Ignatius and his early companions as we journey through college. For Ignatius, even the smallest things could make his spirit sour in unity with God. At the sight of a little plant, a leaf, a flower, a tiny animal, Ignatius could reach through to the God he witnessed in each.

If we seek God in even the smallest things, we will find God in all things — not only our successes, but our disappointments; not only our triumphs, but our tragedies; not only our joy, but our sorrow.

As we journey through these four years, remember that getting to where you want to be, where God wants you to be, takes time. Be patient, and trust in the slow work of God. If you notice God in every aspect of your life — especially the smallest ones — you will find comfort that His hand is guiding you now, and with that you will find trust that you are on the right path for the future.

 

The Ignatian Examen

“How do things stand between me and God? Where am I coming from, and how is my life in Christ growing?” I can answer such questions satisfactorily only if I take leisure to reflect. Here is a way of examining this deep and dynamic personal relationship.

1. Recall that you are in the presence of God.

Recognize that God is intimately involved in your life, wherever you are and whatever you are doing at the present moment. Take time to recognize God’s presence. God is concerned for you and about you.

2. Give thanks to God for the favors you have received.

Use your imagination and your senses. Be concrete in looking at the day’s gifts. Just notice.

Look at your more permanent gifts that allow you to live today. How has God blessed you, and what do you contribute to others and to God? Give thanks for the many blessings of your life.

3. Ask for an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s aid.

Ask for the Holy Spirit to explore the mysteries of the human heart. Ask for the freedom to look at your interior life without condemnation or complacency. Trust in the Spirit — it will lead you through pain and darkness, and into gratitude and joy.

4. Now, examine how you are living this day.

Review your day. Look at your internal events of the day. Where was your heart divided? Do you notice the Holy Spirit or the evil spirits? Notice where you acted freely and when you were un-free. Explore the mystery of your inner self.

5. Pray the words of reconciliation and resolve.

After reviewing your day, look compassionately upon yourself and recognize your need for God. Express sorrow for your sins. Praise God for the times you responded with charity, and ask for the desire to see God more clearly

6. Be courteous!

End your prayer respectfully and completely. Say your goodbyes in a way that is comfortable for you.

A few final points:

Growth in friendship and intimacy takes time and constant attention. Try to give 10 minutes each day to this examination.

Cover all five points each day, but allow yourself to linger more at one point than another. Let the Spirit guide you.

Find a prayer spot and make it sacred. Make it your own.

Regulate your breathing. Breath is a source of life.

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