We’ve been asked several times if our journal can be used in the Catholic faith. And I’ve always just responded “I don’t see why not,” which is probably not super helpful! So today, our Shop Manager, Ashley, is here sharing a wealth of knowledge on how she has incorporated her prayer journal into her Catholic traditions. Take it away, Ashley!! 🙂
I was so excited when Val asked me to write on this topic! I have been a part of the VMP team for over a year but a customer and friend for several years. Since using these prayer journals for the past four years, I have witnessed many ways they have helped me to re-energize my commitment to prayer and deepen my roots in the Catholic faith and Sacraments alongside the traditional prayers we are taught. Although I am a cradle Catholic, I believe, as in any religion, there is a point we reach where our faith becomes our own and not a “because my mom said we do it this way..” kind of faith. This prayer journal is a resource I have leaned on to cultivate that kind of faith in many different ways throughout the years and I hope to encourage you to do the same and really take our Sacraments and traditions to a deeper level within your interior/prayer life.
If you have our Yearly Prayer Journal, you know we have a prompt section for Adoration, but Compose (6-Month) users can use one of the blank or Personal sections for this. Each month I write a quote or Scripture that I want to meditate on in prayer, Mass and my weekly Holy Hour of Adoration. It tends to reflect the significance of The Eucharist and/or a virtue of Christ that is alive in The Eucharist. When attending Mass, I have this quote or Scripture written in the cover of my Magnificat to read before receiving Communion. During my Holy Hour I spend some time reflecting on the quote and use my time in front of the Blessed Sacrament to ask for it to penetrate to my heart. Here are a few of my favorites that I go back to often:
- “If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” -St Maximilian Kolbe
- “Grow and feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.” -St. Augustine
- “Whoever eats my flesh and drink my blood, remains in Me and I remain in him.” -John 6:56
- Any line from The Anima Christi prayer
HONOR TO MARY
Whether you have our Yearly or Compose (6-Month) Journal, both have these wonderful blank sections! Most people aren’t sure how to use them at first, but once you start filling out your journal they are so nice to have for overflow or a special intention close to your heart. Almost every month I use one of my blank sections to devote honor to Mary. It may be quotes I’ve read about her character that I want to imitate (every aspect of motherhood!) or a simple praise of her “yes.” Imitation of Mary is a book that I really find a lot of profound one-liners to soak in and fill this space with.
- “What we know of her outward actions is nothing compared with what went on within her soul. Her judgments were guided by the principles of eternal wisdom; her actions were directed by Your Spirit, and her words were inspired by love of You.” -Imitation of Mary
One of the things I love about our Yearly Prayer Journal is the lined sections in the back. I use the Conversation lined section to journal throughout the year, and through journaling my thoughts I am able to prepare better for Confession. I do a good examination of conscience and write my confession so I am more focused and less distracted in trying to remember things when I walk into the confessional. Over time I’ve developed the habit of frequent Confession and now go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation every 4-6 weeks. So when prepping my journal for the month, I leave a line or two blanks in my Personal section to add any direction or thoughts from the Priest and my penance from Confession. Doing this has really allowed me to reflect on repeated sins and dig deeper into the cause or underlying fault that sparks this sin. You might use The Ten Commandments or The Beatitudes to help prompt your written examination of conscience.
Lastly, and probably my favorite way that I have found to use the prayer journal with my Catholic faith is using it to say our weekly family Rosary. Every Sunday afternoon we sit down as a family with my open prayer journal and we pray through the prompted sections as follows:
2020 Yearly Prayer Journal
FIND FOCUS. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS. EXPERIENCE GOD.
No more waiting! It's in the shop now!
1st Decade – Thanksgiving and Praise (Adoration and Answered Prayers section)
2nd Decade – World, Nation, and Community
3rd Decade – Family and Friends
4th Decade – My Loves (which we focus on our home)
5th Decade – Special Intentions (things written in blank sections and/or personal intentions from the week).
This is a meaningful time that adds value beyond just deepening my own prayer life because my family is able to add their own intentions for the sections as well!
If you have experienced journaling of any kind you quickly find out that the pages are so much more than lines filled with passing words, but rather they reveal the progression of our lives, our deepest desires, and proof of God’s faithfulness. The 4 years of prayer journals that sit on my shelf are a testimony of growth–of a deeper love and appreciation for the Catholic traditions we celebrate in the Sacraments.
So as a fellow prayer journal user, Catholic or not, I encourage and challenge you to think outside the box and be creative with both your prompted and blank sections! Let this journal be a tool that works for you in the ways you need! Let it be the evidence of a personal and intimate faith that overflows to your external life! And be sure to share with us how you make that happen–you never know how your ideas will encourage others! 🙂
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