The First Step in the Examen Prayer: Gratitude. Taking time out of the day when our hearts are free to receive the Lord’s presence. Prayer always takes two persons in relationship…ourselves and God. Then together with the Lord, we see what the gifts of love God has poured out upon us. The key in this first step, is not to look for our missteps (that may come later), but to look for the gifts and give thanks.
As outlined from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
(translated from the autograph by Fr. E. Mullan, S.J. 1909 in the public domain)
First Point. The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.
Second Point. The second, to ask grace to know our sins and cast them out.
Third Point. The third, to ask account of our soul from the hour that we rose up to the present Examen, hour by hour, or period by period: and first as to thoughts, and then as to words, and then as to acts, in the same order as was mentioned in the Particular Examen.
Fourth Point. The fourth, to ask pardon of God our Lord for the faults.
Fifth Point. The fifth, to purpose amendment with His grace.
Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life: The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on books and audio available for purchase from Fr. Timothy Gallagher check out his website: www.frtimothygallagher.org