Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pilgrim's Pit Stop: Examen Prayer Apps

I started writing for the Magis Deo Newsletter nine or eight years ago. I took a hiatus for more than two years, I think. But, I am back now. Thanks to a divine intervention, I was inspired once more to write on a regular basis. Thanks to Magis Deo for allowing me a space to write once more in the Newsletter.

Last June, Pilgrim's Pit Stop debuted with an article on the anniversary of my Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) last April 2016. For the July issue, being the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola on July 31, I write about the Examen Prayer and three mobile apps that assist and help direct anyone who is willing to do the Examen.

I was first introduced to the Examen by Fr. Jean Desautels SJ. I signed up for the 19th Annotation where he was the spiritual director. I was in my third year of employment at Xavier School at the time and having attended the yearly Ignatian Retreats provided by the school, I felt I needed to deepen my prayer and enhance my prayer life with more meaning and verve. There was also the Consortium required for all newbies. I attended this in the middle of the school year and oh my, how it rocked my soul! I didn't remember praying for God to disturb me, but He did at a time when I seemed to be demanding so much from my relationships and from life, in general. Yet, happiness had been an elusive dream. The Consortium was my spiritual baptism of fire. Looking back, it was there where my spiritual journey began. I will share about this sometime soon on another platform or issue of the Newsletter.

Now, for the apps. These mobile apps on the Examen Prayer are produced and created by the Loyola Press, and The Prodigal Father. These three apps are: the 3 Minute Retreat; Jesuit Prayer; and the EXAMEN Prayer App. All three follow the five steps of the Examen and all can be downloaded for free in mobile phones, laptops and PC, and tablets and iPads. An internet connection is needed to download the apps, of course, as well as Google Play for Android and iCloud or iTunes for iPhone users.

The Examen Prayer App is made by The Prodigal Father, Fr. Michael Denk. It has an introductory video where Fr. Denk instructs users of the app through the Examen. Of the three apps, it has a space for journaling which can be shared to one's spiritual director, confessor, spouse or a trusted friend via email. It includes a social media channel for sharing on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, the choice to put up one's prayer petitions out there is a personal choice. The app is password protected. Users of the app can set the alarm as a reminder to do the Examen twice in a day.

What I like about this app is the space for journaling because I can go back to it to review my prayer journey, my prayer petitions and resolutions, and the grace received for each day.

The Jesuit Prayer is an online ministry of the Jesuit Midwest and Jesuit West in cooperation with the Spiritual Outreach through Leadership, LCC. The app presents the scriptural reading and Gospel for the day, then lead users of the app to Ignatian Reflection and Ignatian Prayer. There is a separate space for the Examen, prayer cards and a link to the Pope's Prayer.

The 3 Minute Retreat is the creation of Loyola Press. It lives up to its name. It is short, sweet and simple. Yet, it follows the five steps in the Examen. Of the three, this app is something I recommend for people starting out in the Examen. The Examen is a prayer technique that is not easy to do, but when done regularly and if the person is willing, then, he or she can start small and build up towards longer prayer time.

If you think these apps on the Examen can help you, why not try it out. There is nothing wrong with the traditional way of praying the Examen either. I think the beautiful thing about Ignatian Prayer is that we are able to meet God where ever we are in our life cycles and life journeys.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!

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