If you were to join us in either of our homes at the end of almost any evening, or if you were to attend one of our retreats, we would invite you to do with us the process described in these pages. This book is about asking ourselves two questions:
These questions help us identify moments of consolation and desolation. We call this process the examen. “We have given retreats in over forty countries,and we find that regardless of culture or age group, this simple process is the most helpful way for people to hear the voice of God guiding them from within.
For example, should people bring us many questions ranging from, ‘Should I change my job?’ to ‘What can help me with my depression?’ We usually suggest they spend the next month focusing each day on the examen questions. Such people often return a month later having discovered from their own experience of consolation and desolation exactly what they should do more of and less of in order to resolve their problem.
For centuries, prayerful people have found direction for their days and for their lives by identifying these moments. Since even small children can do this, we have tried here to present the examen in a format that families, friends and communities can share and that will be easily accessible to anyone. We hope the examen will enrich your lives and your relationships as much as it has ours.