Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was a Catholic Priest, theologian, and founder of the Jesuits. After a brutal injury during a war with the French, Ignatius had a conversion experience and dedicated himself to the work of God and His Church. During his years of preistly service Ignatius gifted the Christian faith with the wonderful practice of The Examen.
The Examen was a practice that Ignatius believed God had gifted to him and that he was called to give it away to the world. In this practice of The Examen Ignatius outlined a five-step order that would lead people to peaceful, restorative, and practical encounters with God. The practice of The Examen is meant to be observed at lunch and before one goes to sleep at the end of the day. Using this format the observer experiences two times each day where she or he is intentioanlly stopping to spend time with their Father in heaven and offer their hearts, minds, and spirits to Him. The Examen of St. Ignatius is outlined below.
The Daily Examen - Noon and Night
1. Become aware of God's presence : Take a moment to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and seek the still quietness that the Holy Spirit offers us.
2. Review the day with gratitude : Next, take some time to extend gratitude to God for the blessings and gifts of your life. Even listing off things that you are thankful for is a wonderful way to reengage and redirect our hearts to the joy and peace that God gives us.
3. Pay attention to your emotions : Have you been stressed all day? Are you fearing a conversation or confrontation? Have you been depressed and don't know why? Pay attention to those feelings and emotions and offer them to God, allowing Him to help you work through them.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it : Did somethign during the day stand out as important, joyful, or hurtful? Focus on those things and ask God to reveal to you the important bits of the experience.
5. Look toward tomorrow : Whether at noon or before bed, give the rest of the day to God and ask for His will to be done and for His wisdom to be revealed to you in all things.
During our current sermon series revolving around work and rest, this Examen offers us a tool that can help us process the work and rest that we experience everyday. It also offers us time to seek God's wisdom and word about how we approach both of these topics. During the remainder of our sermon series, You Are Not A Machine, take some time to use the Daily Examen to process and excavate the things that you are experiencing and learning each day.