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January 1, 2021 — 2020 was a challenging year, but we invite you to reflect on it as we begin 2021, using this Ignatian Annual Examen courtesy of Xavier University’s Jesuitresource.org website.

The Examen is a prayer of awareness that St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, taught in his Spiritual Exercises. It provides an opportunity for peaceful daily reflection, inviting us to “find God in all things.” By looking back and recognizing the movement of God in all the people and events of our day, we see ourselves, in retrospect, enveloped in the One “in whom we live and move and have our being,” according to Jesuit Father George Traub and Debra Mooney in the article “Ignatian Spirituality Among the Professors.”

The Examen consists of a few introspective prompts for you to follow or adapt to your own spirit. Before you begin, identify some major markers of your year to orient yourself to the time period. Pause and take a slow, deep breath or two; become aware that you are in the presence of the Lord.

As I review the past 12 months, from a year ago through to the present moment:
What am I especially grateful for this year?

Courage that I mustered?
Love and support I received?

I ask for the light to know God and to know myself as God sees me.

Where have I felt true joy this year?
What troubled me this year?
What has challenged me?
Where and when did I find an opportunity for renewal and pause?

Have I noticed God’s presence in any of this?

In light of my review, what is my response to the God of my life?

As I look ahead, to the coming months what comes to mind?
With what spirit do I want to enter the next few months? The next year?

I ask for God’s presence and grace, for this spirit, as I enter the next year.

Amen.

Adapted by Debra Mooney, Ph.D. from the Center for Mission and Identity at Xavier University’s Daily Examen. [Source: Jesuitresource.org]

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