How to Give the Reconciliation Examen
Ex 15 – The Reconciliation Examen
1. I Give Thanks
After reading the prayer texts, I stand for a few minutes before the Father, as son or daughter, and feel his compassion as he puts his arms around me. I sift the month, with gratitude, for times I have received or given forgiveness.
2. I ask for help
I ask the Spirit to intercede for me with sighs too deep for words.
3. I review
I move through the last month, day by day:
1. Before the Father of mercies, I recall if I have rejected or withheld love.
2. In the light of the Lord’s forgiveness, I sift my thoughts, words and actions.
3. With the Spirit, I examine the general direction of my life—my true self.
4. I explore one social structure I belong to, discerning good from the unjust.
5. I bring to Jesus any sin or sinful pattern that has real and deadly consequences in my life.
4. I respond
I enter the mystery of the Trinity’s reconciling and forgiving love. I humbly express my sorrow for what was revealed above, and ask for forgiveness.
5. I resolve
I resolve to take one or more of the following paths to reconciliation:
1. To adjust my lifestyle or work, see a counselor or spiritual director, or deepen my personal, family and church relationships so that the Lord may forgive and reconcile me through them.
2. To bring where I need forgiveness to Jesus, and to call on his merciful love.
3. To take any needed reconciling action, for myself or others I have hurt.
4. To receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, now and monthly if possible.
5. To make, as envoy for Christ, one small act of reconciliation next month.
Suggested Prayer time: As needed.
How to Give The Reconciliation Examen
This Reconciliation Examen grows from the examination of thoughts, words, and deeds suggested by Ignatius before reconciliation.
You give the Reconciliation 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. The best time to give the Reconciliation is end of day.
But the more usual way is to give your receiver the text of the Reconciliation and go through with them point by point so that they can take it home and make it by themselves, even over several prayer periods or repetitions.
The key to this Examen is that the receiver spends more time of those questions or points in it that are useful and engaging and less time on those points that are not. In other words, your receiver spends more time on those questions or actions closest to her or his need.
Prayer texts and reflections that speak to the Reconciliation Examen
Jesus said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love… Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Lk 7:44–50)
The tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Lk 18:13)
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:17–18)
Ignatius received a revelation on the road to Rome to begin his lifelong service of God. He reports, before reaching Rome, I was at prayer in a church and experienced such a change in my soul and saw so clearly that God the Father placed me with Christ his Son that I would not dare doubt it.
The Christ before Ignatius is Jesus carrying his Cross. The love that he and Ignatius had for one another, their shared vision of God’s kingdom, their desire to feed, liberate, and teach the needy, grew into a profound friendship and an effective, shared mission. Ignatius realized anything that fractured, enticed away, or hid this working relationship leaves one in need of loving reconciliation.
Please note. For greater depth in giving the FSE and guiding Spiritual Conversation see the Manual here.