The idea is to take the time to reflect on the moments of God's grace in the day that is closing, and where I might have fallen short in responding. It is a practice from Ignatian spirituality, the underlying foundation of the Jesuits (all of my spiritual directors have been Jesuits, so it rather fits with how I pray).
I have a card that helps me make this self-examination at the close of day. The card is tattered and in need of tape, but I still carry it in my prayer book, a gift from a member of one of our Education for Ministry groups. Here are the questions.
Light a candle, and try it out yourself tonight:
+ + +
Praying the Jesuit Examination of Conscience
1. Thanksgiving: Lord, I realize that all, even myself, is a gift from you.
Today, for what things am I most grateful?
2. Intention: Lord, open my eyes and ears to be more honest with myself.
Today, what do I really want for myself?
3. Examination: Lord, show me what has been happening to me and in me this day.
Today, in what ways have I experienced your love?
4. Contrition: Lord, I am still learning to grow in your love.
Today, what choices have been inadequate responses to your love?
5. Hope: Lord, let me look with longing toward the future.
Today, how will I let you lead me to a brighter tomorrow?
By James Richardson, Fiat Lux