The Examen, or the daily review, involves taking a few moments at the end of the day (or a longer period of time at the end of the week) to do back over the events of the day/week and prayerfully reflect on the events of the day/week in order to detect God’s presence and discern God’s direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.
Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ, a scripture professor at Creighton University, calls the Daily Examen rummaging for God. He likens it to going through a drawer full of stuff, feeling around, looking for something that you are sure must be there. We look back on the previous day, rummaging through the stuff, and finding God in it. We know he is there. (“Ignatian Spirituality.com,”)
There are many versions of the Examen and you will find a great deal of support online to help you learn more about the practice.
I favour a simple version described in the book ‘Sleeping with Bread’ (great title and you will have to read the book to find out why that title is so perfect). (Linn, Linn, & Linn, 1995) It is good to relax first, take some deep breaths and then pose the question:
For what moment today am I most grateful?
After some time of sitting with this question, move to the second question
For what moment today am I least grateful?
Allow thoughts and feelings to emerge. Offer all of these to God without judgement and give thanks for your day.
This is a powerful but extremely simple technique to discern God’s presence and to become more aware of God. You can talk through these questions with your loved ones, journal or ponder silently.
There are other pairs of questions that are suggested in Sleeping with Bread,
When today did I have the greatest sense of belonging to myself, others, God and the universe?
When did I have the least sense of belonging?
What did you feel good about today?
What was your biggest struggle today, or when did you feel sad, helpless or angry?
I recommend you try this, tonight!
Ignatian Spirituality.com. from http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/
Linn, D., Linn, S. F., & Linn, M. (1995). Sleeping with bread : holding what gives you life. New York: Paulist Press.