Socrates declared that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. 1900 years later, St Ignatius (the founder of the Jesuits, 1491-1556) would have agreed with him. He recommended a daily ‘examen of consciousness’, a way of praying that looks over the day – or month, or year – that has just passed, discerning where our thoughts and actions have helped us to be in touch with God and reflect him, and where they have taken us away from God.
Try it; it is an excellent thing to do at the turn of the year.
There are 5 simple steps:
Find a quiet place; become aware of God’s presence (he is always there!). Ask him to show you what he wants to talk to you about.
Look over the past year and thank God for all that has been good.
Still thinking of the events and developments of the last year, notice how you feel about them. Have any drawn you closer to God? Were there any that made you feel far from God? Don’t judge yourself – just notice.
Thank God for the times when you have been in tune with him, and express your sorrow for the times you have not responded to him.
Look ahead to the new year; what is it you want from God in the months to come? Ask him, trusting that he will give you what is good.
Close your time of prayer by thanking God for what he has shown you and offering yourself for his service.