St Aloysius' College Pray the ‘Examen’
Faith and Values
As a Jesuit school, we have set aside ten minutes each day to pray the Examen in quiet reflection and contemplation. The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God's presence and discern his direction for us.
Fr. Kensy reflects on the experience.
The Examination of Consciousness (commonly called the examen) is a technique of prayerful reflection and meditation on the events of the day. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), the founder of the Jesuits, developed the examen as a way of detecting God’s presence and activity in our daily lives and conforming ourselves more closely to the divine. The examen consists of five steps: gratitude (enumerating some of the things one is grateful for); prayer (asking God for the grace to be sensitive to the divine presence); review (looking back over the main events of the day); evaluation (assessing, objectively and prayerfully, how one has lived the virtues); and resolve (looking forward to what one might do in the future).
During the season of Advent (2–24 December 2018), every student in the senior school prayed the examen daily for a ten-minute period immediately before the lunch-break. Staff members helped the students settle down before leading them through the examen. A seven-minute automated slide show was available for use, if desired. The slide show, originally developed by James Potter, chaplain at Wimbledon College (a sister Jesuit-school to St Aloysius), was adapted by Fr. Kensy Joseph SJ, St Aloysius College priest-chaplain and features soothing instrumental music as well as a voice-over by Joanna Singh, head of St Aloysius College’s drama department.
Due to the popularity of the daily examen, the college will be continuing its practice in the new year as well. Apart from spiritual growth, the examen also provides a mental health benefit to staff and students by giving them the opportunity to slow down and reflect in the middle of the day. Fr. Joseph noted, “The examen is one of the greatest gifts the spirituality of the Jesuits and St. Ignatius has to offer the world today — a world that is marked by uncertainty, anxiety about the future and insufficient leadership. The daily examen will help our students be more attentive and discerning, both in their own lives and the lives of others. The fact that they have taken it up so well is a great sign of hope that they will be bright lights for the world, wherever they go.”
The presentation used by the students can be viewed here.