The Awareness (or Consciousness) ExamenPrint
While its original context was the Spiritual Exercises, the Awareness Examen has become a core dimension, a daily practice, of Ignatian Spirituality.
St Ignatius recommends that we spend about ten minutes at the end of our day reflecting on where God has been gently nudging us to a deeper awareness of His presence in the events and especially the people we encounter in the ordinary events of our day.
This is not so much a head experience, though of course we are also thinking back over our day. But what is important is the feeling these moments of recall evoke. You will remember Ignatius’ growing awareness during his convalescence of the interior movements of the Holy Spirit identified with his feelings rather than his thoughts as such. He came to trust these interior movements as reliable indicators of where the good Spirit was leading him.
At the heart of the Examen is a growing awareness of the presence of God and the interior movement of the Holy Spirit throughout our day. Recalling the presence of God, with Jesus by my side, I look back over my day, from the time I awoke this morning until now. I allow the Holy Spirit to help me notice those moments when God was present to me.
For one or two of those incidents, I recall the particular grace associated with that experience and express a prayer of deep gratitude. It may be a kind word from someone or towards someone, a gentle nudging to do better, a reminder that it is all God’s work…
3. Prayer for light
I pray to the Holy Spirit for light to recognise those moments in my day that indicate my need for further growth and fidelity.
In this spirit, and continuing awareness of Jesus present with me, I focus on such moments where I was perhaps less than generous, kindly, faithful in my behaviour towards others.
In a spirit of repentance for these infidelities, I ask God for the grace to learn from these moments and to do better tomorrow and into the future. My final prayer is to hand over this day into to the loving hands of Jesus and to give thanks for the all the graces of the day.
Here is a short video on the Examen. It will take you six minutes.