The conscience and the Examen

One of the questions given this week at my Bible study was, “How do you withdraw and pray?” A member of our Bible study gave a short presentation on the Daily examen of St. Ignatius of Loyola which forms part of his Spiritual Exercises. As a soldier recovering from a serious battle wound, Ignatius began reading the Bible and the lives of the Saints, and he had a profound conversion. He was moved to found the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – who he envisioned as “contemplatives in action.”

All Christians can use the examen; his exercise of “prayerful mindfulness” at the end of the day focuses us on the awareness of God’s constant presence and His direction in our daily lives. If we are paying attention, God can subtly move us through ordinary experiences, seeing Him in those “aha” moments. I had never studied this, and was intrigued.