The Examen Prayer

Evangelizing Teens through the Examen 

WHY?

  • They face a crisis of Identity.  Who Am I?  If we don’t answer the question, our secular society will 🙁
  • Young people are dealing with questions of purpose.  Why do I exist?  What is the purpose of my life?  What is my life all about?
  • We need to evangelize them so we can benefit from their enthusiasm and idealism.
  • If we evangelize them, they in turn will evangelize others, maybe even members of their family 🙂

(taken from Evangelizing Teenagers by Frank Mercandante)

  • “Evangelization must always be directed to the Lord Jesus Christ.  ‘There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed” (GMD #11).  One of the many promises of Jesus is that He would be with us always (Mt. 28:20).  The Examen Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola helps us look for God’s presence in our daily lives.

SOME STATISTICS

  • Christian teens are consistently among the most religiously active Americans with nearly 6 out of 10 engaged in some type of spiritual activity each week.
  • That being said, behavior among self-identifed Catholic teens exhibit diminished religious engagement compared to Catholic teenagers 12 years ago.

(Source: Barna Group Youth Poll)

  • As Chris told us yesterday, strong, faith-filled and praying families tend to stay together.

THE EXAMEN

More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius of Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us.

St. Ignatius wanted to help people develop a reflective habit of mind that is constantly attuned to God’s presence and responsive to God’s leading.

The examen focuses on God as present in our human experience.  Of course, this doesn’t represent our whole relationship with God, but it’s a vital part of it.

An attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude permeates the whole prayer experience.

In the end, however the examen is used, the Ignatian motto, “whatever works” should be operative.  (Manney, pg. 25)

My project is to teach seventh graders presently using Loyola Press’ Finding God textbook series the Examen Prayer through classroom experiences.  The goal would be that the seventh graders would in turn engage in the process of evangelization by teaching the prayer to their families.

The resources to accomplish this goal would be available at both http://www.loyolapress.com and http://www.makingallthingsnew.com.

LIMITATIONS

  • If the teens did not lead the prayer with their families.
  • If the families were not receptive to the teen’s initiative.

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