How to Give the Particular Examen
Ex 27 – The Particular Examen
Start of day
Upon rising, I firmly resolve to carefully practice my particular desire today.
During the day
I mark each experience of my desire with a simple, symbolic action.
End of day
1. I ask for help
I ask God to help me see clearly in my review.
2. I review
I review the day to see how God has been working in my particular desire.
3. I compare
I compare hour by hour, day by day, week by week, my progress in my desire.
4. I resolve
I firmly resolve to act with my desire tomorrow.
Suggested Prayer time: 10-15 min: Help 3 min. Review 3 min. Compare 3-8 min. Resolve 1 min.
How to Give The Particular Examen
The Particular Examen focuses on a particular desire. Ignatius says, I ask for what I desire more earnestly in connection with particular things (SE 199). It may be any desire directed to good or the service of others. It is made in 5-6 simple steps.
You give the Particular Examen by simply guiding the receiver through the five steps of the prayer. You just read the five sentences leaving time for the receiver to answer them. Following the suggested prayer time, you can see that more time is spent on points one and three.
Your receiver might choose to pray this examen if she or he had a particular desire but have never known a way to nourish it or bring it into action.
You could also explain to your receiver that a particular desire that is often revealed through its opposite; for instance, one may notice a destructive pattern of selfishness in a certain relationship, and now the desire arises to practice generosity in it.
As a change to the normal seeking of a desire, you could suggest to your receiver that she or he I may ask God to act through it. This way, God’s generosity acts through your receiver’s generosity. Your receiver can allow God to complete all he or she have been doing through faith (see 2 Thes 1:11–12).
To progress more quickly, encourage your receiver to make a small, symbolic body gesture of gratitude whenever she or he receives something of what they desire in the Particular Examen. This need not be public or long, just a symbol that expresses that one has received or practiced the particular desire.
Prayer texts and reflections that speak to the Particular Examen
Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts. (1 Cor 14:1a)
We always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith. (2 Thes 1:11)
It is worth considering the particular in life. If I want to dance with another person, I need to learn particular steps. If I need to be healed, I go to a particular doctor, look at particular symptoms, and have a particular treatment. If I find a particular thing utterly desirable, I might sell or abandon all I have to get it. If I am lost, I use a particular map to find my way home. When I grieve, it is because I have lost someone I particularly love. Indeed, if I desire to progress in any activity, be it intellectual, musical, sporting, artistic, or spiritual, I need to do particular exercises.
Particular is the way I live in depth, the way I search with focus, the way I heal, the way I find, the way I enjoy, the way I choose, and the way I act in union with Christ and others. All these shapes of particular are held in the Particular Examen.