I ask God to make his presence known to me in this moment.
I place my hands, palms up, in a gesture of receptivity.
I spend a few moments in gratitude, thanking God for one or two of the blessings, big and small, that I’ve received today.
Instead of reviewing my day hour by hour, I ask God to review my day emotion by emotion.
How did I feel when I woke up this morning?
As I was showering…eating breakfast…dressing for the day?
As the morning progressed? And so on…
I quickly pass over the fleeting emotions but dwell on the more pervasive ones or those I hadn’t noticed before.
I also speak with God as I notice shifts in my emotions throughout the day.
I speak with God about the strongest emotions of the day.
Were they of the good spirit, the part of me that is moving closer to God and deeper in faith, hope, and love?
Were they of the false spirit, the spirit in me that is stuck in earthly thoughts, desires, cravings, or obsessions?
I choose the strongest emotion of the day, and I speak to God about the way I responded to that emotion as the day progressed.
What impact did this emotion have on me?
Did I acknowledge the emotion as I experienced it?
Did I consciously choose how to act on this emotion, or influence how I would think, speak, and act?
I speak with God about this, thanking him for my responses that were in sync with my Christian calling, and asking for forgiveness and healing when they were not.
Knowing that my emotions are only partially in my control, I reflect on what emotions I want to have tomorrow.
If I could choose only one, what would it be: joy? Peace? Loving-kindness? Courage? Gratitude?
I pick one of these and imagine myself living out tomorrow with this emotion as my companion.
I ask God to grant me the grace to be open to this emotion tomorrow and to put it to good use if and when it does come.
Are there any last words I want to say to the Lord?
I close with one or two of the following gestures: bow, make the sign of the cross, or say an Our Father.
Written by Mark Thibodeaux SJ from 'Reimagining the Examen', used with the kind permission of Loyola Press.