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B-A-K-E-R Daily Examination of the Conscience (Examen)

May 19, 2017

Dear Friend,


Use the heat of your faith and devotion to bake yourself into a “goodie” to the delight of yourself and the world that feeds on you! Be a BAKER for a simple, quick, end-of-the-day devotion!

B-A-K-E-R    Daily Examination of the Conscience (Examen)


This is a wonderful acronym to follow to help one complete the daily 'Examen'.


 St. Ignatius, a master of practical prayer, recommended making a daily examination of the conscience, whereby one reviews the day, at its end, in the presence of the Lord. St. Ignatius directs people to spend most of their time reflecting on the blessings of the day not on sins.

The following is an adaptation by TheHumbleDisciple of a summary of the Examen as presented by Father Gaitley, MIC.


Make the Examen near the end of the day. Most make it shortly before going to bed.


First, put yourself in the presence of God. Devoutly make the “Sign of the Cross”.


Next, reverently contemplate, meditate, and pray - (B-A-K-E-R).


B   stands for “Blessings”. According to St. Ignatius, Blessings are the most important of the five points. Think of the many blessings God has given you throughout the day and then praise and thank him for these blessings. Never forget to thank God for the crosses of the day, which are also blessings. (Eventually, a constant attitude of gratitude develops, where your praises and thanks will flow all day long, instead of solely at night during the Examen.)


A  stands for “Ask”. Ask the Holy Spirit to help recognize your sinfulness and give you his strength and grace to do better, be more sincere, and follow his lead in the future.


K  stands for 'Kill'. Because sins killed and crucified Jesus, look at your own sinfulness (weaknesses, aggravations, and attachments, too). Look for the valleys, which Ignatius calls “desolation”. Pay attention to those times during the day when your heart dropped (e.g., someone else's sin, someone said unkind words to you . . .). Did you forgive them? Did you accept the small aggravations as well as the large as a small sharing in the Cross? Be more peaceful about aggravations and offer them up as a prayer for others.


E   stands for “Embrace”. Allow Jesus to embrace you, sinner as you are, with the rays of his merciful love. Think of the Image of Divine Mercy. Think of Jesus' words that it rests His Heart to forgive so when you go to Him with sinfulness you give him joy being your Savior. 


R   stands for “Resolution”. Take what you learned from the previous points and look ahead to the next day, ready to make resolutions and do deeds.


Close with joy and devotion in an “Our Father” and a “Sign of the Cross”.


Gaitley, Father Michael E., "33 Days to Morning Glory:  A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration", Marian Brothers of the Immaculate Conception, 2011. [adapted by TheHumbleDisciple]


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