Monthly Prayer Page: July

Welcome to the Jesuit Missions Monthly Prayer Page. Here you will find topical prayers and different prayer styles to help broaden and deepen your prayer life in the tradition of Ignatian spirituality

JM Prayer Focus: St Ignatius Feast Day (31st July)

July

A Mural of St Ignatius in a Jesuit Missions project in Guyana.

Suggested Prayer Type: The Examen

St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, is perhaps most famous for his teachings on discernment; the ability to identify and understand the movement of spirits (both good and evil) in our lives. One key way in which St Ignatius felt these spirits, and thus the presence of God, could be identified was through the Examen prayer. Today, the Jesuits who follow in the footsteps of St Ignatius still use this prayer to direct them during their many daily challenges.

What is the Examen?

  • A daily, reflective prayer which allows us to interpret the presence of God in their daily life.
  • A short period of time in which we stop, reflect on the various events of our morning or afternoon and our various feelings that surround them.

How to pray the Examen?

  • Consider the following points step by step:
    1. What do I have to be grateful to God for today? Thank God for the graces he has given.
    2. Where today did I co-operate with God’s will and where did I turn away from it?
    3. What stood out in my day as causing me the greatest joy and the greatest sorrow?
    4. Did I meet my commitments (to God and to others) and how can I ensure I do this in future?
    5. What is out of balance in my life? What changes do I need to make to be the person God is calling me to be? Ask for forgiveness for the times today I failed to do this.

Why pray the Examen?

  • This prayer is a deeper, spiritual version of the ‘reflective practice’ that many professionals are asked to perform in their modern workplace.
  • By questioning ourselves in such a manner we can detect what brought us interior joy or sorrow. This allows us to retrospectively discern ‘where was God’ today and assess how we responded to His presence.
  • Ultimately, searching for these answers inside our soul allows us to find God in all things by helping us to detect His presence in our daily activities.
  • Perhaps most powerfully it can lead us to seeing to where and through whom God is calling us to serve Him. These concepts are central to the spirituality of St Ignatius, whose feast day we celebrate this month.
  • The Examen allows us to make much more sense of our ‘mentally polluted’ modern lives, it allows us to make the decisions that He wants us to make and not the decisions we want us to make.

Final words of wisdom:

“Much knowledge is not what satisfies the soul and gives it contentment, but rather interior meditation on things and savouring them”. (St Ignatius of Loyola)

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Click here for a PDF version of this month’s prayer.