A Reflective Review of the Past Year:
An Ignatian Annual Examen
St. Ignatius Loyola's Examen is an opportunity for peaceful daily reflective prayer. It invites us to find the movement of God in our life. The following is a reflective review of the past year. Before you begin, identify some major markers of your year, such as the semester calendar or events [eg, Commencement], to orient yourself to the time period.
The Examen is simply a set of introspective prompts for you to follow or adapt to your own character and spirit. Begin with a pause and a slow, deep breath or two; become aware that you are in the presence of the Holy.
As I review the past 12 months, from a year ago through to the present moment -
What am I especially grateful for this year?
An event that took place
Courage that I mustered
Love and support I received
I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.
Where have I felt true joy this year?
What troubled me this year?
What has challenged me?
Where and when did I find an opportunity for renewal and pause?
Have I noticed God's presence in any of this?
In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?
As I look ahead, to the coming months what comes to mind?
With what spirit do I want to enter the next few months, the next year?
I ask for God's presence and grace, for this spirit, as I enter the next year
Adapted by Debra Mooney, Ph.D. from the Center for Mission and Identity at Xavier University's Daily Examen
The Daily Examen
The Examen, a prayer of awareness that Ignatius of Loyola taught in his Spiritual Exercises, helps one notice God's presence in our daily lives. It invites us to find God in all things by looking back and recognizing the movement of God in all the people and events of our day; to see ourselves, in retrospect, enveloped in the One in whom we live and move and have our being (Traub & Mooney, 2010). Thus, the Examen is a way of attending to oneself and others - at an intellectual level and, even more deeply, affectively. There are many modern versions of the Daily Examen. Five points thanksgiving, petition, review, response, looking ahead - are easily modified to fit one's own character and spirit. In fact, some adaptations are thematic, for instance, dealing with environmental issues, diversity, or service-learning experiences.