Reflecting Back on the Year

This morning I expanded my daily Examen to spend some time looking back over this past year, which seemed fitting on this New Year’s Eve. I also spent time considering the year ahead.

My prayer reminded me that last year on this day I posted a year-end examen invitation. Here it is again:

Tomorrow we begin a new year. Even if your daily prayer includes some form of Examen, it is worthwhile to take some time today to reflect back on the events and experiences of this past year. Here are some questions to prompt your reflection:

What have been the most grace-filled moments over the last year? What were the experiences for which you are most grateful?

What have been some of the challenges or causes of tension for you this past year? How good a job did you do facing those challenges?

What is on the horizon that you think requires some particular care and attention?

Pay attention to the feelings that arise in your heart as you review the events of this past year. Perhaps your review of this period has led you to remember an encounter with a colleague or a friend that led you to feel joy or consolation in the recognition that you were in the right place at the right time. Or perhaps you find yourself remembering a conversation or event that left you angry or frustrated. Maybe you experience pain as you remember a messy situation you didn’t handle as well as you might have.

As you review the feelings that surface in your heart during the review of these months: try to identify which of those feelings most catch your attention or stirs your heart most deeply, and ask what is it about the incident that creates such strong feelings. As you reflect on the experience, simply speak the prayer that arises in your heart.


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