Your Friday Challenge: Examen Your Week

Today’s challenge is to reflect on your week to see what was great, what was not and where was Jesus.

Don’t make this long: simply take a few minutes, noting times when you experienced joy or laughter or grace, as well as when you were down or discouraged or sad.

Then ask Jesus to reveal his presence and love to you through these experiences. 

This is an ancient practice of spiritual life called the Examen, originating from St. Ignatius of Loyola. Simply stated, we reflect on the past and note experiences that were great and joyful, as well as times of difficulty or sorrow, looking for Jesus’ presence in the midst of it all. We can do the Examen daily, weekly or over a season of time; what emerges are patterns of highs and lows, and we are able to let the Holy Spirit guide us and form us through this spiritual exercise.  We might see sources of constant discouragement; we might realize that there is a type of work or ministry that really gives us life; we may begin to see areas we need to change (a longer period of time is usually needed to recognize larger patterns).

But this week–good, bad or “meh”–is worth Examen-ation. Jesus is here, Jesus was there, Jesus will be in your next week.  By using the Examen, we become more attentive to his presence in our lives.

So, take a moment today to think about your past week.

  • What brought you joy?
  • What sunk your spirits?
  • And how is Jesus leading you through these experiences?

If you’d like to explore this further, here’s a brief introduction by an InterVarsity staff writer. You could also try this helpful Catholic resource on Ignatian Spirituality.