Song of the Builders
On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God-
a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside
this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope
it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.
An Examen is an ancient Church practice that allows us to see God's presence in our daily experiences.
The Examen Project is a collaborative effort between the Jesuit Community at Loyola University Maryland and visitors to this site. As we maintain this page with select Examens, we call upon you for comments and contributions.
“How do things stand between me and God? Where am I coming from, and how is my life in Christ growing?” I can answer such questions satisfactorily only if I take leisure to reflect. Here is a way of examining this deep and dynamic personal relationship.
1. Recall that you are in the presence of God.
Recognize that God is intimately involved in your life, wherever you are and whatever you are doing at the present moment. Take time to recognize God’s presence. God is concerned for you and about you.
2. Give thanks to God for the favors you have received.
Use your imagination and your senses. Be concrete in looking at the day’s gifts. Just notice.
Look at your more permanent gifts that allow you to live today. How has God blessed you, and what do you contribute to others and to God? Give thanks for the many blessings of your life.
Ask for an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s aid.
Ask for the Holy Spirit to explore the mysteries of the human heart. Ask for the freedom to look at your interior life without condemnation or complacency. Trust in the Spirit — it will lead you through pain and darkness, and into gratitude and joy.
Now, examine how you are living this day.
Review your day. Look at your internal events of the day. Where was your heart divided? Do you notice the Holy Spirit or the evil spirits? Notice where you acted freely and when you were un-free. Explore the mystery of your inner self.
Pray the words of reconciliation and resolve.
After reviewing your day, look compassionately upon yourself and recognize your need for God. Express sorrow for your sins. Praise God for the times you responded with charity, and ask for the desire to see God more clearly
End your prayer respectfully and completely. Say your goodbyes in a way that is comfortable for you.
A few final points:
Growth in friendship and intimacy takes time and constant attention. Try to give 10 minutes each day to this examination.
Cover all five points each day, but allow yourself to linger more at one point than another. Let the Spirit guide you.
Find a prayer spot and make it sacred. Make it your own.
Regulate your breathing. Breath is a source of life.