The Examen (prayer), which is an important part of the Spiritual Exercises created by St Ignatius of Loyola between 1522 and 1524, is prayed daily at St John’s by the whole community.
It is a carefully structured prayer which boys become very adept at praying as they move through the School. It has 5 mains areas which are used as moments of reflection:
1 Give thanks (Gratias age)
Spend a few moments in gratitude for the gifts and blessings of the day.
2 Ask for light (Pete lumen)
Ask God to enlighten you, showing where he has been at work and present in your day through events, people and places.
3 Examine the day (Examina)
Review the moments of the day, noticing what has led to consolation and what has led to desolation and our reactions to these events, people and places.
4 Seek forgiveness (Dole)
Ask God's forgiveness for the times when you have acted, spoken or thought contrary to his grace and calling for you.
5 Resolve to change (Propone)
Decide what in your behaviour or attitude you will try to improve tomorrow.
The Examen is prayed daily in a great many Jesuit schools worldwide and is central to the life of St John’s in that is helps members of the school community, be they boys or staff to recognise the many blessings in our lives and to be grateful for these. It also encourages us to reflect on the smaller but nonetheless important parts of our days that we might otherwise miss: moments very often that characterise our interactions and relationships with one another.
The Examen is also a ‘call to action’ for our community: to take these reflections and act upon them to grow in ourselves but also in our understanding of the world around us, our relationships with one another and with God.