The Examen

by Beth Richardson on October 10, 2011 · 51 comments

Autumn Leaves in New England

In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius urged that all be taught the examen, a daily examination of our deepest feelings and desires. He called these feelings our consolations (what connects us with God, others and ourselves) and desolations (what disconnects us). He believed that God would speak to us through these feelings and desires. It’s not surprising that this saint felt so strongly about the examen — this prayer practice changed him from a wild soldier to a pilgrim walking barefoot to Jerusalem.

The Examen helps us:

  • Acknowledge sad or painful feelings and hear how God is speaking to us through them.
  • Overcome a pessimistic outlook by encouraging us notice the good in each day.
  • Tell the truth about who we truly are and what we need, rather than who we think we should be.
  • Become aware of seemingly insignificant moments that ultimately can give direction for our lives.

Preparation: You may wish to light a candle. Do whatever helps you to experience God’s loving presence with you. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe in God’s love, and when you breathe out, fill the space around you with it.

Ready to try it?

Get started with Step One.

“The Examen: Remembering the Day” from MethodX: The Way of Christ

Photo Credit: Digital Vision / ThinkStock

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Newsome May 8, 2012 at 9:22 am

At the state prison near my home I teach a group of inmates various subjects, all of which are designed to grow the Christian spiritually within each so that they have a different focus from when they entered. May I use the examin as a handout for them? As part of step 3 I would add: Record this in your journal.


Beth Richardson July 2, 2012 at 11:33 am


I’m so sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m sure that would be fine.



Ingrid May 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

THANK YOU! God has so many surprises waiting out there. I live in the Mystery of it all.


Beth Richardson July 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

You are welcome. Blessings, Beth


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