Praying through Advent: The Daily Examen

Praying through Advent: The Daily Examen December 8, 2014

candleThis Advent, why not keep your eyes open for evidence of God’s love and action in the world?

The motto Jesuits live by is “finding God in all things,” and the way to do that is to examine your own daily life for the activity of the Spirit. Ignatius of Loyola—founder of the Jesuit order of the Catholic church—gave this prayer to his community and commanded them to do it every day. When practiced regularly, this prayer, known as the “daily examen” can be very useful in identifying where you receive spiritual energy and where you are in danger of losing it. It provides good information for you as you discern your place in the world.

The Practice

  • Make yourself comfortable and set aside some quiet time for this prayer. You may want to light a candle to signify the light of Christ illuminated in you.
  • Rest into silence for a few moments.
  • Ask God’s Spirit to lead you through your day (month, season, event or  other time in your life).
  • Review and reflect.
    • If you could relive any one moment, which would it be? What happened in that moment that made it so life-giving? Sit with that moment and allow it to give you life again. Offer your gratitude to God for that moment.

    • If you could go back and change any one moment in your day, which would it be? What made that moment so difficult? Sit with that moment in the light of God’s love and allow yourself to feel whatever emotion you have. Offer that moment to God for healing.

  • Make a note of these highs and lows.
  • End by giving thanks to God for all the ways God has been with you “in all things”—through the joy and the pain.


For more about spiritual direction as I practice it, check out my website. If you have questions or comments about the content of Spiritual Direction 101, please let me hear from you in the reply section below.

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