‘the unexamined life is not worth living’
As we embrace the dawn of another year, we may be all too ready to dismiss the difficult year that has just passed. Yet before we allow 2020 to fade into oblivion, we would like to invite you to an Ignatian Examen on the year gone by in order to turn to the future with a greater sense of freedom and purpose.
The famous line of Socrates ‘the unexamined life is not worth living,’ was well understood by St Ignatius of Loyola, who saw the Examen as an essential means of being open to the daily actions of the Spirit. Through an examination of consciousness, taking note of the inner stirrings, feelings and emotions of the day, we may discern patterns of behaviour and with regular practice learn to choose what is life-giving and set aside what is not.
Ignatius stressed the importance of the Examen, referring to it as an essential daily practice. The five simple steps of the Examen: 1. Asking for Light, 2. Giving Thanks, 3. Reviewing the Day, 4. Asking for Forgiveness and Healing and 5. Looking Ahead with Hope, may also be adapted to life’s particular circumstances.
This liberating process of examination may reveal new ways of being in the world and is confirmation that ‘the examined life is indeed worth living.’
Try an examen for yourself. Chris Kennedy, Spiritual Director at the Faber Team in Qld, invites you to share an Examen reflection on 2020. Chris made the decision to share this prayer which he based on his own personal experiences of praying over the events of the past year, as he found the Examen so valuable. Although the podcast is 20 minutes long, please pause it at any time, wherever you might be drawn to deeper reflection. Chris prayed through his Examen over a three day period.