We’ve all been there. Lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, thinking about the day’s regrets instead of sleeping.
Self-reflection is important – but reflecting in a productive, prayerful way can be difficult. That’s where the Daily Examen comes in.
The Daily Examen is time set aside specifically for the purpose of examining your day. The six-step process helps guide you, through structured prayer, to deeper awareness of how God is working in your life and how you are responding to His grace.
“It is not just a reflection on what I could have done better or should not have done, but also about the blessings, the joys, the times of gratitude I hold for the day,” said Sister M. Mikela, FSGM, executive vice president of OSF HealthCare.
The end of the day is a natural time to reflect, but listen to your heart for when it’s best for you to take time for a conversation with God.
“I do it twice a day so that if halfway through the day I am ‘blowing it,’ I can do some course correction. Or if I’m feeling down, I can remind myself of the many blessings I have received. I can also ask to see His presence in the difficult moments that I experienced,” Sister M. Mikela said.
“It definitely helps to keep me more balanced and self-aware. I can see the good as well as the not-so-good about the day as I reflect on how I responded to situations. Also, if there is something that I am particularly striving for, like patience, kindness, courage … I can use this as a form of personal accountability.”
The Daily Examen
To start, find a quiet, peaceful place where you can be undisturbed for 10-15 minutes.
“If I have a chance to go to a chapel, I will go there because of God’s particular presence in places of worship. For us Catholics, we believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” Sister M. Mikela said.
Place yourself in the Presence of God, Who is Love, and walk through the following steps.
For 5-10 minutes, I rest in the Presence of God, attentive to my breathing, my need for peace and quiet.
I briefly review the day since I awakened. What drew me close to God this day? What pulled me away from God this day? What went on within my heart? What was the day like overall?
I briefly note and ask for pardon, peace and mercy for those times that I was not the best version of myself, where I fell short of being who I want to be, I hurt someone.
I ask the Lord of Merciful Love for assistance, for help in anything small to large. I ask Him to come to my assistance.
I imagine what I want to live the rest of the day (or tomorrow) like, with God’s help and grace. I resolve to do good.
I praise, adore and thank God for the many ways He has been present in, with and near me.