Examen on Trust and Surrender

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to trust in the Lord? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible The Walking on Water (Matthew 14: 22-33)

Allow yourself to surrender your idea of how things should be and trust in where the Lord leads you.

He made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’


Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ (Matt. 14:22-33)

This scene from the Gospel of Matthew is quite intense. It is night, the disciples are being tossed back and forth in their boat by a violent storm, and they see a figure walking on water. Instead of running away, Peter faces the situation with courage and an openness to trust in God’s plan. He recognizes Jesus and knows that he is trustworthy, even in this unbelievable situation.

Read the passage again, placing yourself in Peter’s place. You are afraid in the violent storm and are unsure of the person you see walking on water, but the possibility that it is Jesus is enough to make you want to get closer. Are you willing to step out of the boat?

When Peter places his trust in Jesus and stepped out of the boat onto the water, something amazing happened. He surrendered his idea of how things should be, about how they were supposed to be, and he moved towards Jesus. He is walking on water, moving closer to Jesus in the midst of a storm. Even when he took his eyes off the Lord and began to sink, he still had faith that Jesus would save him. And he did.

God can do amazing things when we trust him only with a small amount. As you reflect upon the incident that you chose for your examen, ask yourself where God is asking you to grow in trusting him. What would happen if you surrendered your idea of how things should be, stepped out of your boat, and moved towards the Lord and his peace? He will not disappoint you, and he will be there even if you begin to sink.

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward trusting in him.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any times you have not trusted the Lord in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater surrender through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming more trusting in God’s love that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a surrender your life completely to God.

Examen on Encouragement

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where has the Lord sent his Spirit to encourage you? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible The Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1-11)

Allow Christ to encourage you in living the life he has planned for you with love.

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’ (John 8:1-11)

This Gospel passage is a familiar one. The woman has been caught in adultery. Her sin is real, and it carries great consequences for her, for her family, and for her relationship with God. She finds herself literally facing death because of what she has done, without any hope of redemption.

Then Jesus enters. He breaks through the darkness of the condemnation that the woman faces and shines a light of love. God looks at her with complete love, a love that she never knew existed. Christ encourages the woman caught in adultery to live a life free of sin, knowing that it is truly possible through the gift of his grace.

Read through the passage again, imagining yourself in the passage. Perhaps you are the woman or just a quiet bystander. Allow yourself to be surprised by how the Lord breaks through the crowd’s condemnation with his words of strength and encouragement.

God does not give empty encouragement. This woman has been defined by her sin, but Christ restores her dignity as one of his children, knowing that she can live a beautiful life of love. He looks at you with this same love. As you reflect upon the incident that you chose for your examen, Jesus looks at you and speaks words to encourage you to live a life full of hope and grace. What would it be like to believe his words of encouragement?

As you reflect upon the incident you chose for your examen, remember that the Christian life is not meant to be lived alone. One of the best ways to learn how to live in relationships is by seeing how Jesus interacts with people. How could words of encouragement help to welcome Christ’s presence in your life?

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward the Lord’s encouragement.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any discouragement in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater encouragement through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more encouraging person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more encouraging person.

Examen on Gratitude

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to gratitude? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible the Curing of the Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19)

Allow Jesus to reach out to you in your deepest need, communicating to you his care and his power healing.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

This healing story of Jesus is different from many of his other miracles because the Lord is not actually physically present when the lepers are healed. They were walking to see the priests, as Jesus had instructed, when they were made clean. Caught up in the joy of their miracle, all but one of the lepers continued on their way to live a new life of health.

This situation is easily relatable. How often we pray, asking God for a special favor or grace, knowing that we greatly need it. Then, once we receive it, we start living our new life of grace, forgetting to thank God for empowering us to live each moment.

Read through this passage again, recalling the incident you chose for your examen.

As you think about the situation or reaction you brought to this examen, do you see that God gave you any grace in that moment? How did you react? Did you go about living with the new grace as though nothing had happened, or did you turn around to praise God?

Gratitude is essential for the Christian life and for maintaining a relationship with God. God gives grace to sustain you in each moment; when you recognize and thank God for the gift of his love, you are filled with the joy and peace of knowing that you are his beloved son or daughter. How do you feel when someone sincerely thanks you for something you have done for them? How could your relationship with God grow through expressing gratitude for his gifts?

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward gratitude.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any lack of gratitude in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater gratitude through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more grateful person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more grateful person.

Image by marthaartess from Cathopic

Examen on Serenity

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved towards serenity? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible Jesus’ Praise of the Father (Matt. 11:25-30)

Allow Jesus to speak directly to you, allowing him to know your heart in a more intimate way.

At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:25-30)


Jesus speaks and praises the Father, acknowledging that he has done many unexpected things. God’s love knows no bounds. Sometimes we might have regrets, anxieties, or other forms of suffering that prevent us from accepting Christ’s invitation to find rest for our souls. Jesus does not condemn anyone for struggling with their burdens or for becoming tired from carrying them. He simply lovingly invites anyone who is exhausted from the journey to stop, look to him, and rest.

Notice that Jesus is speaking directly to you. He is saying, “Come to me, all of you.” Jesus sees who you are and loves you intimately. There is no need to hide any part of yourself; you are free to truly be you in his presence.

Read the passage again, imagining Jesus looking at you with great love and speaking these words to you. What burden does he invite you to bring to him? What is it that you desire to learn from Jesus?

Jesus wants to share your burdens. As you reflect upon the incident you chose for your examen, think about what would happen if you invited him into your heart to see your daily struggles. Christ can carry them for you. Will you accept his invitation to find rest?

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward serenity.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for times when you have resisted serenity in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater peace through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more serene person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more serene person.

Examen on Joy

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to joy? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples (John 21:1-14)

Allow Peter to lead you to the joy of encountering Jesus.

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.


Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.


When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:1-14)

This Gospel scene begins with a quite distressing scenario. The disciples are still mourning Jesus’ death when Simon Peter decides that he wants to go fishing to try to cope. Some of the other disciples go with him, surely because none of them wants to be alone. And, in their dark period of mourning, not only are they without their Lord, but they cannot even catch fish.

Read the passage again, paying particular attention to what happens when Simon Peter hears that it is the Lord on the shore. In a single moment, their total darkness is transformed into total light, as they bring in an enormous catch of fish and their hope is restored. Allow the joy of the scene to enter into your heart.

The Christian life is filled with joy because it is filled with Christ’s love. Of course, this does not mean that the Christian life is not difficult, but instead that the struggles and challenges that Christians face are joined to the joy of Christ’s presence. When Peter saw the Lord, he jumped into the water and swam to greet him, filled with joy and excitement. Everything seems unimportant compared to the joy of being in the presence of Jesus.

As you reflect upon the incident that you chose for your examen, pay attention to where God is present. Allow this knowledge of his presence to fill you with joy. What would it be like to savor the joy of ordinary moments in your day? How can you share this joy of knowing God’s love with others?

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward joy.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any lack of joy in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater joy through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more joyful person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more joyful person.

Examen on Attentiveness to God’s Presence

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to knowing his loving presence? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)

Allow Mary to show you how to remain in God’s presence.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

The story of Mary and Martha is a familiar cautionary tale. Martha is running around the house, preparing food, cleaning up after her guests, and doing her best to be a courteous hostess. After all, Jesus himself has just walked through the door! She becomes frustrated when her sister Mary does not offer to help because she sees hospitality as a sign of respect for the Lord.

Read through the passage again and ask yourself how you would prepare to welcome Jesus into your home. Would preparations be different from when a family member or friend visits? Would you think about what you would want to say to him?

Martha takes care of all of the household tasks during Jesus’ visit because she loves him and wants him to feel at home. But as she does this, she realizes that things are not going as she planned. Perhaps she burned the food or spilled trash over the floor. She becomes frustrated and overwhelmed by the fact that her sister Mary does not offer help, and asks Jesus to tell her to contribute. Jesus surprises her by revealing that he did not come to their house for the food or the clean floor to sleep on; he came for Mary and Martha.

The greatest gift that you can offer God is your presence. The greatest sign of love that Mary could show to Jesus was simply to sit at his feet and listen to him. In sitting with Jesus and acknowledging his presence, she also came to know something about who she was and how she was loved by him. Take a moment now to sit in God’s presence. Do not feel the need to say anything, but simply close your eyes and come to an awareness that he is with you.

Having an awareness of God’s presence is a way to center your identity in God’s love. As you reflect upon the events of your day for your examen, think about where God was present. How does it feel to know that you do not have to earn God’s love, but that it is already with you? Allow Mary to show you how to focus on sitting in the presence of Christ.

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward knowing his presence.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any times you have not recognized God’s presence in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater awareness of his presence through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more aware of God’s presence that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. This could be starting the day with lighting a candle and saying a prayer or driving to work in silence. Pray for the grace to become more aware of God’s presence.

Image by marthaartess from Cathopic

Examen on Compassion

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to compassion? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible The Second Sign at Galilee (John 4:46-54)

Allow the royal official to show you how it feels to have someone show you compassion.

Then Jesus came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, ‘Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.’ The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee. (Jn 4:46-54)

The royal official is burdened with concern that his son will die, and he catches a glimpse of hope when he hears that Jesus, who has performed many miracles, is nearby. So, he runs to meet the Lord. He expresses his genuine grief and sorrow about his son’s illness. Jesus expresses frustration that people keep demanding signs from him, yet it does not stop him looking at the official with compassion and answering his request.

As you read the passage again, notice that the Lord’s compassion for the royal official is so strong that, even though he was still a day’s journey away, the official believed that his son had been healed.

As you reflect again upon the incident or reaction that you chose for your examen, pretend that you are in the royal official’s place. The Lord looks at you with great compassion and tells you that you can go on living your life; he will take care of your greatest worries. What is it like to know that you concerns genuinely move the Lord to compassion?

Jesus looks at each of us, in our needs and worries, with great compassion because he loves us. What would it be like to trust that love, the power of that compassionate care that God has for you?

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward compassion.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any lack of compassion in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater compassion through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more compassionate person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more compassionate person.

Examen on Acceptance

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to acceptance? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible Peter and the Risen Jesus (John 21:15-19)

Allow Peter to show you how to accept a challenging reality by trusting in the Lord’s love.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ (Jn 21:15-19)

This scene is the first time that the evangelist John shows Peter speaking with Jesus after he denied him three times during the Passion. Surely Peter is nervous; he knows that he has abandoned the mission that God gave him in a very real sense. He does not run away in shame, however. Instead, he draws close to the Lord’s love, knowing that it is exactly where he belongs.

And so, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, giving him an opportunity to make up for each of the three times that he denied him. Peter accepts the reality of his past, but does not allow his past mistakes to prevent him from confidently saying that he loves Jesus. It is this acceptance that allows Peter to fully live the life that God has planned for him to help start the early Church.

As you reflect again upon the incident or reaction you have chosen for your examen, imagine that you are in Peter’s place. Are you willing to tell the Lord everything that happened, not only in the situation but in your own heart? If you feel any resistance to sharing an aspect of the incident with the Lord, why do you think that is? Jesus knows every aspect of the situation and he looks at you with great love. He does not want you to live in a past with regret, but to accept his love in the present. What would it be like to entrust the incident that you chose for your examen to the Lord’s care?

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward acceptance.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any times that you have been unable to accept the reality of a situation in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater acceptance through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward acceptance that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to accept God’s plan for you.

Examen on Understanding

Place yourself in the presence of the Lord and pray for enlightenment. Relax. Breathe deeply. Run quickly over the past few hours or days, allowing your real feelings to surface about the events that have been part of your life, the feelings you’ve buried so that you could make it through the day.

Pay attention to the way in which the Lord has been present to you. Where have you felt drawn to the Lord or moved to understanding? Where have you met the Lord when you felt afraid … misunderstood … tempted … relieved … happy? Turn to the Lord with gratitude.

Choose one incident or reaction that stands out particularly for you at this time and which is still not settled for you. Recall to mind the details of the incident and its context, the people involved, and how you feel about it.

Read in the Bible James and John (Mark 10:35-45)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Mark 10:35-45)


There are three different groups in this Gospel passage:

  1. James and John, who recognize Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and voice their desire to be next to him in heaven.
  2. The other ten apostles, who get frustrated with James and John because they think that the two brothers are being selfish by trying to claim the spots at Jesus’ side for themselves.
  3. Jesus, who understands his followers’ desire to be close to him and also wants to enable them to live out God’s plans for their lives.

Jesus understands those he loves. Notice that he does not chastise James and John for striving to have the highest place in heaven, nor does he chastise the other apostles when they become jealous of the two brothers. Instead, Jesus understands that James and John desire to be close to him in heaven which is a beautiful desire. Jesus also knows that they do not have enough information to know what their desire entails. Likewise, he understands that the other apostles are hurt at the possibility that they might not be closest to Jesus.

As you reflect again upon the incident or reaction you have chosen for your examen, pay attention to how Jesus encounters others with a loving understanding. The Lord sees the situation that you have chosen for your examen, and he understands it. He looks at you with love and invites you to grow closer to him. What is it that you want the Lord to understand in your life?

God sees the heart of each person and he loves them. God made all people good, but sometimes their goodness can be difficult to see without seeking to understand. How would approaching others with increased understanding strengthen your relationships?

God’s great love for you is made manifest in the experiences of your life. As you make this examen, the Lord is right now moving your heart toward understanding.

Spend some time talking over with the Lord what you are learning and experiencing. With simplicity express your sorrow for any lack of understanding in your life and your gratitude for any movements you sense toward greater understanding through God’s grace.

Identify one step toward becoming a more understanding person that you want to take going forward, a step that is actually possible for you. Pray for the grace to be a more understanding person.

Take a few moments to bring your thoughts or insights from this reflection to prayer.
Ask God for the grace to live what you have reflected on. Close your prayer time with the prayer below.
You may wish to carry this prayer through your day.

Image by marthaartess from Cathopic