Ignatius believed that we can find God in all things, at every moment, even in the most ordinary times. To do this, we must take time to reflect on our experience, to look at the data of a day and discern their meaning.
Ignatius recommended a five-step method of prayer called the Examen to help us find God in all things. The Examen encourages us to look back over a period of time and pay attention to what is happening in and around us. Then we look ahead, to what comes next, so that we can act in a way worthy of our vocation as Christians.
These are the five steps of the Examen:
1. Pray for God’s help.
2. Give thanks for the gifts of this day.
3. Pray over significant feelings.
4. Rejoice and seek forgiveness.
5. Look to tomorrow.
Pray for God’s Help
The Examen begins by opening your heart to God. You want to see with God’s perspective, not your own. You may choose to make one or more of your prayer periods outside, soaking in the natural beauty of creation. Use all of your senses to experience the world. This week, as you walk the streets and go about your daily tasks, be attentive to the variety of God’s creations, especially in the people you encounter.
The Grace I Seek
I pray for the following graces: wonder at God’s ongoing creation; gratitude for the gift of God creating me and creating the world.
Conversation with God
There is nothing magical about praying. Prayer is a conversation with God. So invite God to be with you during this sacred time. Ask God to help you be grateful and honest as you look back on the day. With God’s help, be attentive to how the Spirit was working in and through you, others, and creation. Let yourself see your day as God sees it.
Pray the psalm slowly. Open your heart to God. Consider: What is God like? How can God help me?
Lingering Over God
God’s touch, though taking place in a moment of time, lives on within us forever. When we experience God’s love, God’s self-giving, we are never the same. We may return to some of our old ways of being and acting, but deep down within we are not the same.
We can continue to let an experience of God bear fruit within us by going back to it and lingering over it. Through this remembering, lingering, and reliving process, we open ourselves to God—we allow God to move within us, to touch our hearts again so that our own experiences of God ripple deep within us and can continue to make a difference in our lives.
—Maureen Conroy, The Discerning Heart
*Taken from IgnatianSpirituality.com