The Awareness Examen is a prayer of daily reflection developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola. The primary focus of the Awareness Examen is our felt experiences and how God moves us in our affections. The Awareness Examen teaches us to notice and listen to the stirrings of our hearts and discern what is from God and what is not. It's different from the Examination of Conscience, which focuses on our good and bad actions.
This way, the Awareness Examen can help us see God's hand in our daily-lived experience. It’s a profound prayer of discernment that can transform our lives and lead us to grow in holiness day by day. It helps us to find God in all things.
AN EXAMEN TRANSCRIBED FROM THE JESUITS OF SOUTH AFRICA
Step 1 - Preparation
Slow your mind and calm your body and gently relax in God‘s presence. Imagine God welcoming you.
Step 2 - Gratitude
Ask God to show you the day through God’s eyes. Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God.
Notice any joys and delights, and focus on the day's gifts.
Look at the day, look at the work you did, look at the people you interacted with. What did you receive from them? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.
Step 3 - Review
Notice moments when you were fully alive, times when you felt at peace, joyful, happy, comforted, whole, your best self, and moments when you feel close to God.
Allow some of these moments to come to mind. These are times of consolation.
Pick a moment that you feel most grateful for and stay with it, savor it.
Notice how God is drawing you to more of those experiences. Take some time to give thanks to God.
Now, remember anything that you are less grateful for. Experiences that caused you to feel drained of energy, frustrated, irritated, angry, sad, alone, isolated, unaccepted, fragmented…less than your best self.
Bring these memories before God; ask God to bring you the healing you need.
Step 4 - Choose
Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something from the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a positive or negative feeling. It may be a significant encounter with another person. It may be a moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may seem rather insignificant.
Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart. Whether it be intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.
Step 5 Look Forward to Tomorrow with Hope
Look forward to tomorrow. Ask God to give you grace for tomorrow’s challenges.
Pay attention to the feelings that surface as your survey what is coming up.
Are you doubtful, cheerful, apprehensive, or full of delightful anticipation?
What do you think you particularly need for tomorrow, strength, energy, patience, courage?
Ask for that gift.
THE EXAMEN: A SIMPLE LIFE CHANGING PRAYER BY JIM MANNEY
1. Pray for light.
I want to look at my day with God's eyes, not merely my own.
2. Give thanks.
Look at your day in a spirit of gratitude. Everything is a gift from God.
3. Review the day.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, look back on your day. Pay attention to your experience. Look for God in it.
4. Face your shortcomings.
Face up to failures and shortcomings. Ask forgiveness for your faults. Ask God to show you ways to improve.
5. Look toward the day to come.
I ask where I need God in the day to come.
The Examen of Consciousness: Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Fairfield University
Lord, I realize that all, even myself, is a gift from you.
Today for what am I most grateful?
Lord, open my eyes and ears to be more honest with myself.
Today, what do I really want for myself?
Lord, show me what has been happening to me and in me this day.
Today, in what ways have I experienced your love
Lord, I am still learning to grow in your love.
Today what choices have been inadequate responses to your love?
Lord, let me look with faith and hope toward the future.
Today, how will I let you lead me to a brighter tomorrow?
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