This concept of Christ being “in all” is a central aspect of Jesuit spirituality. The founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius Loyola, wanted people to find God in every person, in every place, and in every situation. So he developed a set of spiritual exercises to help people become more attentive to God’s activity in the world so that they could cooperate with him more fully and build his kingdom. Part of Ignatius’ exercises was the Daily Examen, which he described as a prayerful review of the day. Ignatius knew that as we learn to see God “in all things,” we will grow more confident of his love and more willing to serve him and his people. There are five steps to the Daily Examen:
- Be aware of God’s presence in your experiences. Try to see how the Holy Spirit guided you today.
- Review your day with gratitude. Be thankful for it.
- Pay attention to your emotions. When and why did you get jealous, judgmental, hurt, happy, or excited?
- Choose one feature of your day, and pray through it. Pick one or two strong feelings you have had this day, and pray about them. Did they draw you closer to God or make you feel compassionate, generous, or loving? Or did they make you feel self-centered, anxious, or fearful?
- Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you his grace and his blessing for the next day’s challenges. The Daily Examen is not just a pious pastime. Its goal is to draw us closer to God and make us more deeply engaged in the world. So give it a try. Take Ignatius’ advice, and talk to Jesus today as a friend who deeply cares for your well-being.