How to use our journals alongside Catholic traditions

How to invest in your Catholic Faith by Val Marie Paper | prayer journals, sacrament, church, traditions, mary, holy communion, confession, women, rosary, intentions

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.

EUCHARIST/ADORATION

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.

PRAYER COURSE COMING IN JANUARY!

GET NOTIFIED WHEN 'DEVELOPING A FLUENCY OF PRAYER' COURSE BECOMES AVAILABLE!

  • “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

CONFESSION

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.

THE ROSARY

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:                  

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! 🙂

Want to become a student of prayer? Sign up here to be notified when our NEW online course launches this January!

Leave a Comment!!

  • I’m catholic too, and I’ve been using the yearly this year. It has really helped me so much! I use one section each day and add those needs to my morning prayers. I love the idea of using the conversations section for confession. Great idea! And journaling during adoration is one of my favorite ways to sink into that time. The conversation section is good for that too.

  • Thanks for these ideas Ashley! My journals have helped deepen my Catholic faith, but I’ve never thought to use the blank spaces that way.

  • Thank you so much for this post! Very helpful and can’t wait to implement some of your ideas into my prayer journal and Catholic faith journey! Thank you!