ou can do it for a whole year too, and Dec. 31 is the perfect time. Here’s how. Give yourself some time, maybe 30 minutes or so. Or longer if it’s been an eventful year.


1.) Remember that you’re in God’s presence. That’s essential for any prayer. It’s not just you running through a list or talking to yourself. You’re doing it with God. Ignatius used to recommend actually looking at the physical place where you’ll be praying (a chair, on the floor, in a pew) and imagine God looking at you. It helps you to remember God is with you. Or you could simply invite God to be with you. God is always with us, but it’s good to remind ourselves of that, especially when we pray.

2.) Call to mind what you’re grateful for. … And give thanks to God for them. Even if you’ve had a bad year, call to mind what you’re grateful for. You may be surprised by how many wonderful events you’ve forgotten about. Know that these are God’s gifts to you.

3.) Review the year. … Notice where God was present, where you said yes to God’s invitation to greater love. Where God loved you. Notice.

4.) Express your sorrow. … seek forgiveness … But don’t wallow in your sins: remember you’re human and we all make mistakes.

5.) Ask God for the grace to live 2020 as a good person. … Be specific about what you need. St. Ignatius often encouraged people to pray for what they want and need. Finally, ask for the grace to see God’s presence in the new year.

Ever practical (he’s a Jesuit), Fr, Martin concludes:

And throw in a prayer for me. I need help too.

Happy New Year!


2 thoughts on “Examen for 2020 (D R A F T)

  1. Why, yes! In fact I was reading America for the political and cultural coverage before I started with a spiritual director, and I was already familiar with James Martin’s writing. So I picked up copies of his “Jesuit Guide” and a book of meditations set in the Holy Land, and they were a big help in getting my work with spiritual formation off the ground. I can’t pretend that I pray the examen regularly, but I do follow the lectionary readings in the magazine (I subscribe to America and Christian Century). There’s a professor at DePaul whose name escapes me that I like very much.


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