Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  St. Ignatius lived from 1491-1556 and is the Founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).  St. Ignatius and the Jesuits have and continue to contribute greatly to the life of the Church and the development of Christian thought. 

In the history of Christian spirituality and discernment, Ignatius developed a spirituality that views imagination and feeling as positive components of the spiritual life rather than just distractions to be moved beyond.  The correct use of imagination and the gauging of feelings, Ignatius realized, are means by which we can grow in discipleship and in an awareness of God’s presence in our lives. 

One of the disciplines of this spirituality is to take time at the close of each day for an examen – time to review the day and ones conduct and thoughts during the course of the day. 

Below is a simple examen developed by John Veltri SJ followed by a Prayer for Generosity attributed to Ignatius himself.  The discipline of the daily examen is a great aid in discerning God’s will in ones life.

An Awareness Examen at the End of the Day

Ask for the light of the Holy Spirit to see through God’s eyes…
1.  What gifts I have received during the day that I can be grateful for.
2.  Where God has been working during the day in my life; where I am cooperating with God today; where I am cooperating with the sinful element within me and not doing what I want to do in the Lord (Rom. 7:15-20)
3.  The forgiveness God offers for the times when I have not been attentive and responsive to God’s presence and love in my life.
4.  How God’s help will guide me through tomorrow, and that God’s Spirit will be with me. 

Prayer for Generosity (attributed to St. Ignatius)

Eternal Word, only begotten Son of God,
Teach me true generosity,
Teach me to serve you as you deserve.
To give without counting the cost,
To fight heedless of wounds,
To labor without seeking rest,
To sacrifice myself without thought of any reward
Save the knowledge that I have done your will.  Amen.