By Santi Rodriguez
The Examen of Consciousness is a meditative reflection on your day. It can also be used to reflect upon the year. The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on 2020 takeaways, learnings, challenges and highlights, and where you want 2021 to take you. It is an opportunity to recognize the graces and blessings of this year, and to learn from the challenges and burdens. It is a moment with God to discern the movements of your heart and mind – the thoughts, feelings, and imaginings that draw you closer or away from God. The motions of our soul that help you to increase or to decrease in faith, hope, and love.
There are many versions of the examen because it has been adapted by many people throughout the years, but basically it begins with gratitude and ends in a conversation with Jesus. Gratitude is the first and most important step in the spiritual journey, and intimacy with Jesus is the goal of that journey.
This the format of the Examen of Consciousness for the New Year:
1. Be still… be aware of God’s presence: God is present to us in every moment of the every day. Celebrate God’s presence. Become aware of God’s love for you.
2. Recall all the gifts that God has given you in 2020: This year has been… interesting, to say the least. It has been chaotic and difficult. And there have also been many blessings as well. Begin with gratitude. Recall the gifts … family, friends, work, beauty… particular gifts of 2020… Recall a conversation, an important decision, time with family, beautiful things you saw and places you visited this year… Give thanks to God… Gratitude opens your heart
3. Review 2020 with God: “I want to walk back through my year with you, Lord.” Where is God present? Where has God challenged you? How was your heart moved by God this year? Perhaps it was through a conversation with a friend. Or you saw someone in need… a moment where God was inviting you to serve… How did you respond? Go back and review moments of joy, peace, and freedom… moments of anxiety, anger, or attachment. Those moments tell you what is important to you… It can be helpful to go through the year chronologically, or simply to ask Mrs. Holy Spirit to show you highlights of 2020. What is an important lesson you learned this year? What challenges did you overcome? How kind were you to yourself and others? What are you most proud of this year?
4. Look to 2021: After you review this year, look forward to 2021. Where do you need to be more attentive in 2021? How is God asking you to love and serve next year? How will you step out of your comfort zone? What unhealthy habits is God asking you to unlearn? What matters most to you and how will you invest your time, energy, and talents accordingly? Which relationships do you want to focus on? Who do you want to become in 2021?
5. Talk to God about what is on your mind and heart as you close 2020 and you look forward to 2021. What excites you? What scares you? What are you most looking forward to in 2021. Ask God for wisdom, vulnerability, and courage. End with an Our Father.