Here’s one more version of the Examen from Mark Thibodeaux’s new book, Reimagining the Ignatian Examen: Fresh Ways to Pray from Your Day. I don’t think this one will be easy; it takes some honesty and courage. I’ll try it if you will!
Repulsions, Inspirations, Desires
- I begin in my usual way.
- I spend a few moments in gratitude, thanking God for one or two of the blessings, big and small, that I’ve received today.
- Looking back on my day, I ask God to show me the moments in which I was repulsed by someone or something. To be repulsed means to feel uncontrollably driven to reject or flee from that person or thing. When did that happen today? What person did I encounter that led me to feel disgust? fear? anger? loathing? Was there some incident, task, place, discussion, or thing that drove me to want to run the other way or to react violently? I speak to God about this. I pray to God for forgiveness, advice, and healing.
- I look over my day a second time, asking God to reveal the moments I felt inspired to do something good or to be someone noble. Did I encounter someone today who inspired me? Did something happen today that filled me with good and holy passion and warmth? Did I see, hear, or experience something that made me feel that way? I speak to God about this. I give thanks and praise for this moment.
- I look at my day one last time, asking God to bring to mind the moments in which I felt filled with great desires. By great desires I mean desires to do good and holy things, and to be a good and holy person. Great desires are those God plants in my heart; they are ultimately desires for faith, hope, and love. Was there a moment today when I felt such desires, even if I wasn’t fully conscious of it at the time? Was there a moment today when I thought about the future with wholesome and loving dreams? Was there a moment when I daydreamed a future for myself filled with God’s presence and filled with faith, hope, and love? I speak to God about this. I thank and praise God for this moment. I ask God if this moment truly came from him, and I pause in silence to listen for a response. I am open and receptive to God’s response to me, whatever it is.
- I now review my prayer time and these three reflections of repulsions, inspirations, and desires. Of the three reflections, which one has most enlightened or moved me? I return to that moment and linger there a while. What is the primary emotion I feel as I reflect on this? I tell God about how I’m feeling right at this moment, and I listen for God’s response. I talk with God about it, or perhaps we just sit there in the blessedness of this sacred moment.
- Given my reflection on today, I now look to tomorrow. “Is there anything concrete that you call me to do tomorrow, Lord?” “Given my repulsions, inspirations, and desires today, who am I called to be tomorrow?”
- If I feel led to do so, I make some commitment to God about tomorrow. I ask God for the help to fulfill my commitment.
- I end in my usual way.
If you were to create your own adaptation of the Examen, what would it look like?