The Examen is differs from the examination of conscience (inventory of sins before confession). The Ignatian Examen (SpEx #43) was renewed with the contribution of the “Consciousness Examen” by George Aschenbrenner, SJ in 2007. He explained how to connect the Examen to discernment of spirits through examining consciousness of inner movements of soul because: “What is happing in our consciousness is prior to…our actions.” The Examen targets the root of sin and sanctity by forming a “discerning heart.” It’s important to consider the “interior feelings, moods, and slightest urges” rather than avoid them. The goal is not to follow every prompting, but to enter deeper and deeper levels of the soul to be drawn by God alone in the still point of the heart. This Examen includes the 5 Keys of Unbound by Neil Lozano since the 5 Keys offers practical tools to assist conversion and entrustment as you see below. Remember, the name of Jesus invokes His Presence and His Power. Finally, the acronym of G.R.A.C.E. helps you remember the 5 steps of the Ignatian Examen, which takes roughly 10 -15 minutes. Consider journaling important findings.
Gratitude: Count your blessings. Gratitude wards off discouragement and honors God’s goodness, in good times and bad, because everything is grace.
Request: Request light to see your day from God's perspective since His vision is true and penetrating. There is primacy to the spiritual life: God starts, you respond.
Account: Take account of your day by seeing what God brings to your attention (either positive or negative). This is not an inventory, but a revelation of one or two things to focus on with the Lord. Revisit what the Lord shows you, not just the event (thought, word, or deed – omission or commission) but the underlying feeling which is linked to a (true or false) belief. What patterns do you see?
Conversion: Return to the Lord. For those positive responses, give Him glory and praise. For those negative responses, and as needed, it may be helpful to utilize Keys 1-3 of Unbound because you want to break all fellowship with sin, unforgiveness, and other bondages of the enemy:
(1) Repent by saying out loud, “In the name of Jesus, I am sorry for ________.”
(2) Forgive by saying out loud, “In the name of Jesus, I forgive ___name___ for ___ describe it___.”
(3) Renounce by saying out loud, “In the name of Jesus, I renounce the spirit of ___ label it ___ (Ex. gluttony, powerlessness, lust, worthlessness, etc.)
Entrust: Ask for the grace to improve tomorrow and proactively consider a plan of amendment. Entrust all this to the Lord, which is coming back into right relationship with Him. Savor His love for you! Perhaps, utilize Keys 4-5 here:
(4) Reclaim the dignity and power that belongs to you as His adoptive son / daughter, that is a priest, prophet, and king. Take authority in His name. Say out loud, “In the name of Jesus, I reclaim authority _________.”
(5) Accept His blessing. God is Good all the time. Allow Him to bless you by receiving and accepting it. Live in His love. Say out loud, “In the name of Jesus, I accept the Father’s blessing of _________________.”