Hello, and welcome to my Examen Prayer Video Retreat. While it is always better to go to a retreat in person, right now the limits on public gathering make this impossible! I’ve put together some videos to guide you through this retreat. Before you get started, I recommend finding a nice and quiet place where you can pray, think, and relax for a couple of hours. In person, this retreat took about 3 hours, but on video it’s a little shorter: we can’t have questions, and we don’t need to put in break time!
Some Preliminary Information
Here is a recommended schedule for doing this retreat:
|Start||Watch video: Opening Prayer and Introduction (3 minutes)|
Reflection Question: What am I seeking today?
Length: 5-10 minutes
|0:05||Watch video: Prayer, Spirituality, and the Examen (18 minutes)|
|0:28||Watch video: Reflecting on what I seek (2 minutes)|
Reflection Question: How might the Examen help me find what I seek?
|0:35||Watch video: How to Pray the Examen (33 minutes)|
|1:15||Watch video: Let’s Pray the Examen! (4 minutes)|
Pray the Examen
|1:34||Watch video: Helpful things to know along the way (30 minutes)|
|2:04||Have a wonderful day!|
No retreat would be complete without a handout! Here is a PDF handout that summarizes the important steps of the Examen prayer and discernment of spirits, and it also lists a few extra resources.
The Retreat Itself
After watching this video, please reflect for 5 to 10 minutes on the question: What am I seeking today?
After watching this video, it would be a great opportunity to take a quick break.
After watching this video, please spend about 5 minutes reflecting on the question: How might what I have already learned today help me find what I seek?
Now is another great opportunity to take a break.
After watching this video, please pray the Examen. Remember to begin by lifting your thoughts and your heart to God. Then follow the steps:
- Gratitude – Look for the blessings God has bestowed upon you today
- Prayer – Ask God to shine his light on you as you ponder your day
- Review (or Examination) – Look for how we’ve reacted to God today in our thoughts, words, and actions
- Contrition – Ask God to forgive you for those times you’ve turned away from Him
- Resolution – Resolve to grow closer to God and think about how you might concretely do this
Finally, remember to end by praying an Our Father.
Thank you, and have a wonderful day!
As most things do, this retreat builds on the work of many others. I’ve included here a number of sources from which I’ve drawn material. They are in three categories: major sources, minor sources, and other spiritual works which have provided insight. I’ve put them in alphabetical(ish) order by author within their sections.
A major resource, it should go without saying, has been the Bible. I would like to make a note on translations: We use the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) for the readings at Mass. The Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (RSVSCE) is another excellent translation. These two editions were produced by a large group of Bible scholars working from the ancient sources, both of which are very good for study by Catholics. The two groups have slightly different aims in their translation, which leads to slight differences in wording. I’ve attempted to use the NABRE for the quotes in the video. Another translation I like is the Knox Bible. It is easy to read, and is and very English translation. It was put together by Msgr. Ronald Knox, primarily based on the Vulgate, but in consultation with ancient sources.
Primary Resources Consulted for this Retreat
Dan Burke. Spiritual Warfare and the Discernment of Spirits. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2019.
Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V. The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2005.
Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V. The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2006.
St. Ignatius of Loyola. Spiritual Exercises. Translated by Louis J. Puhl, S.J. Online at http://spex.ignatianspirituality.com/ Note: It is not recommended to read St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. They are best and most helpful when experienced are part of a directed retreat. The Rules of Discernment make up two appendices to this work, so I have used them for source material; however, the above listed books for discernment of spirits are more than adequate in this area.
Other Resources Consulted
St. Teresa of Ávila. I have consulted various parts of her works Life and The Interior Castle. Often, this was to verify quotes in other works. These works can be found at https://ccel.org/ccel/teresa. An excellent book edition is: Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 2. Translated by Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Fr. Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 2012. Kindle Edition. (ISBN 978-0-935216-12-7)
Fr. George A. Aschenbrenner, S.J. “Consciousness Examen” in Review for Religious, vol. 31, no. 1: January 1972.
Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. Abandonment to Divine Providence. Translated by John Beevers. New York: Image, 2014.
St. John of the Cross. Ascent of Mount Carmel in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross. Translated by Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Fr. Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 2017. Kindle Edition. (ISBN 978-0-935216-93-6)
Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence: The Secret of Peace and Happiness. Translated by Paul Garvin. Charlotte, NC: TAN Books, 2012.
Other good books:
Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M.: Fire Within. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009.
Fr. Jacques Philippe: Searching for and Maintaining Peace (St. Paul / Alba House) and Interior Freedom (Scepter Publishers).