As a priest, I pray Night Prayer (or Compline) every night from the Liturgy of the Hours, a liturgical prayer that the ordained, consecrated, and some lay faithful pray.
Part of the Night Prayer is a daily examination. Most people are familiar with an examination of conscience in the context of preparing for the sacrament of Reconciliation. The use of an examination in this way highlights only one aspect, namely the negative—our sins and faults. St. Ignatius of Loyola encouraged the Daily Examen, to learn more about the Examen, I recommend Fr. Timothy Gallaher’s The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for our Lives.
A daily examen in the spirit of St. Ignatius is a review of the day from a holistic perspective: Where did I see God today? For what am I grateful? And so forth.
As I try to do a daily examen, I always am looking for a new method. As the Church on March 25th celebrates the Annunciation of Jesus’ birth to Mary, I propose the following examen based off the Annunciation gospel (Luke 1:26-38). Tonight as you prepare for bed, consider examining the course of your day through the lens of Scripture.
An Annunciation Examen
1) The Angel Gabriel visited Mary of Nazareth with a message of Good News.
- The Lord sends messengers to us each day.
- Who has been Gabriel to you today?
- What was their message?
2) The Angel says: “The Lord is with you.”
- When did you experience and sense God’s presence in your life today?
3) The Angel says: “Do not be afraid.”
- Has there been angst or undue worry? What was it?
- Offer it to God. Ask him to replace your fear with peace.
4) The Angel says: “You have found favor with God.”
- Today, did I do or say something unbecoming of God’s favor toward me as His beloved son or daughter?
5) The Angel says: “The Holy Spirit will come.”
- Acknowledge how the Holy Spirit was present to you throughout the day.
- What fruit of the Spirit did I manifest?
- What gift of the Spirit do I most need right now?
- Ask for His guidance tomorrow in all that you do.
6) The Angel says, “Nothing is impossible for God.”
- Today, did I doubt God’s providence? Repent. Celebrate what God has done for you today, the possible and impossible.
7) Mary says, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your will.”
- How have I been a servant today?
- How do I expect God to use me tomorrow?
- What is God’s will for me right now? This week? Next month? Ask Him to reveal His will.