Daily Examen

The Daily Examen is a method of prayerful reflection on the events of the day gleaned from a technique described by St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises, in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. No wonder it is one of the few rules of prayer that St. Ignatius made for the Jesuit order, the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily —at noon and at the end of the day. In our busy academic environment, it provides a brief moment to still and commune with God through the day’s events. At twelve noon, each day, the whole school pauses for five minutes to observe this ancient practice of finding God in all our experiences.
Killing Time
How do I kill time?
Let me count the ways.
By worrying about things
over which I have no control.
Like the past.
Like the future.
By harboring resentment
and anger
over hurts
real or imagined.
By disdaining the ordinary
or, rather, what I
so mindlessly
call ordinary.
By concern over what’s in it for me,
rather than what’s in me
for it.
By failing to appreciate what is
because of might-have-beens,
should-have-beens,
could-have-beens.
These are some of the ways
I kill time.
Jesus didn’t kill time.
He gave life to it.
His own.
—LeoRock, SJ.
From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits
Teach Me to Listen
Teach me to listen, O God,
To those nearest me,
My family, my friends my co-workers,
Help me to be aware that
No matter what words I hear,
The message is
“Accept the person I am. Listen to me.”
Teach me to listen, my caring God,
To those far from me–
The whisper of the hopeless,
The plea of the forgotten,
The cry of the anguished.
Teach me to listen, O God my Mother,
To myself.
Help me to be less afraid
To trust the voice inside–
In the deepest part of me
Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit,
For your voice-
In busyness and in boredom,
In certainty and in doubt,
In noise and in silence.
Teach me, Lord, to listen.
Amen
–adapted from St Ignatius by John Veltri SJ
From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
excerpted from Hearts on Fire
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.
-St. Ignatius of Loyola
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.
– St. Ignatius of Loyola
(St. Ignatius of Loyola, as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.)
St. Ignatius begins his Spiritual Exercises with The First Principle and Foundation.
While not typically thought of as a prayer, it still contains much
that is worth reflecting on.
The Goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God’s life
to flow into us without limit.
All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
Insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
They displace God
And so hinder our growth toward our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
Before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
And are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
Wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
To God’s deepening his life in me.