“Christ is all and in all." (Col 3:11)
This concept of Christ being “…in all,” is a very essential aspect of Jesuit spirituality. The founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola, wanted people to find God in every person, in every place and in every situation. So he developed a set of spiritual exercises to help people like you and me to become more attentive to God’s activity around us and beyond so that we could cooperate with Him more fully and build His kingdom.
Part of Ignatius’ exercise was the Daily Examen, which he described as a prayerful review of the day. How was God present in the bad situations as well as the good ones? Ignatius knew that as we learn to see God “in all” things we’ll grow more confident of His love and more willing to serve Him and His people. Listed below are the five steps to the Daily Examen:
- Be aware of God’s presence in your experiences. Try to see how the Holy Spirit guided you today.
- Review your day with gratitude. Be thankful as you look over your day.
- Pay attention to your emotions. When and why did you get jealous, hurt, judgmental, happy or excited?
- Choose one feature of your day and pray through it. Pick one or two strong feelings you’ve had this day and pray about them. Did they draw you closer to God or make you feel compassionate, generous, or loving. Or did they make you feel self-centered, anxious or fearful? Did they hurt or build up your relationships?
- Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you His grace and blessing for the next day’s challenges.
The Daily Examen isn’t just a pious pastime. It’s a goal to draw us closer to God and make us deeply engaged in the world. So I challenge you to cut this article out and give it a try! Take St. Ignatius’ advice by talking to Jesus today as a friend who deeply cares for your well-being.
In God’s Time, Fr. Carmelo