Discovering God’s Presence in Our Lives – April 18, 2023

Father Rob Kroll, SJ discussing the Examen Prayer with Patrick Conley. Topics included: what the examen prayer is (2:58), steps of the examen (6:01), caller: the examen is helpful to me (16:22), family examen (20:34), dealing with dryness (23:15), fruits of the examen prayer (26:20), caller: why the examen (33:46), caller: My wife and I do a nightly examen (38:13), and examen and discernment (42:52).

From Fr. Kroll’s Guide to the Examen  


This outline is based on St. Ignatius’ presentation in the Spiritual Exercises (n. 43), and is adapted from The Examen Prayer by Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV.

Transition I become aware of God gazing upon me with love as I begin my Examen. I recall that God has created and ordained all things.

Step One: Gratitude I note the gifts that God has given to me this day, thanking God for them.


Step Two: Petition I ask God for insight so that this Examen is a work of grace, not mere navel-gazing or ruminating over my day. I ask the Holy Spirit to shine His light so that I review the day with His eyes and guided by grace.


Step Three: Review With God, I prayerfully review the day hour by hour with its many activities and encounters. Did I experience something surprising or unusual today: a call or email from a friend I hadn’t heard from in years…a painful memory I had considered forgotten…something beautiful in nature…a news story that moved or disturbed me…As I walk through my day, I look for the stirrings of my heart (feelings) and mind (thoughts). Which have come from God? Normally the Holy Spirit acts to give us peace, joy, strength, encouragement. Which stirrings have clearly not been of God but represent suggestions from the enemy? I examine my choices in response to both sets of stirrings. How did God delight in me today? How was God proud of me?


Step Four: Forgiveness I own honestly any ways that I have turned away somehow from God today, whether by failing to love when an opportunity came long or by actively doing wrong in thought, word, or deed. I ask for healing and forgiveness from the God who removes my heart’s burdens. If necessary, I resolve to bring myself to Confession.


Step Five: Renewal The Examen ends by looking ahead briefly to the coming day with hope and confidence, entrusting it to God’s grace. With God, I concretely plan how to live the next day in accord with His loving desire for my life.


The Examen helps us grow in self-knowledge as well as in discerning God’s presence, action and will in daily life. Through it, we more easily find God in all things and love all things in Christ.

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Patrick Conley was born, raised, and baptized in Wisconsin in a Protestant tradition. After meeting his wife, Kendra, through an Evangelical ministry at the University of Minnesota, they entered the Catholic Church in 2010. They listened to Relevant Radio, specifically The Inner Life, while preparing to enter the Church. Conley now holds a degree in theology from Oxford University and has served the Church in both academic theology and grassroots pastoral ministry. Conley teaches religion classes in a Catholic elementary school, serves as his parish Director of Religious Education, and is in formation for the permanent diaconate. He also hosts Practicing Catholic on Relevant Radio, exclusive to the Minneapolis area’s airwaves, and is a traveling presenter for the Catherine of Siena Institute apostolate. He lives in rural Wisconsin with his wife and their bulldogs, Georgie and Bingley.