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What are the five steps of the examen?

Ignatius in Cave

Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. | Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 07/31/20

St. Ignatius of Loyola lays out five distinct steps on how to check-in on your relationship with God.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola recommends a daily “examen,” which is essentially a quick way to check in on your relationship with God. This type of examination is normally reserved for the evening, but it can also be practiced in the morning and during the afternoon.

The examen is a powerful way to reflect on your day and how you have responded to the graces God wants to give to you. It includes looking at how you have succeeded as well as how you have fallen short.

Here are the five steps of the examen that St. Ignatius describes in his Spiritual Exercises, leading to a more prayerful and reflective life.


The first point is to give thanks to our Lord God for the benefits received.


The second is to ask grace to know and to root out my sins.


The third is to review the time hour by hour, or period by period, from the moment I rose down to the present examination, and to demand an account of my soul, first of my thoughts, then of my words, lastly of my actions. [Take note of] times you have fallen into a particular sin or defect.


The fourth is to ask pardon of our Lord God for my faults.


The fifth is, with his grace, to purpose amendment.


Read more:
7 Great quotes from St. Ignatius of Loyola to keep us from comparison


Read more:
A prayer attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola for a more generous spirit.

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