I must admit, journaling for the purpose of prayer does not come easily to me. Left to my own devices, I would probably rhapsodize about my favorite new lipstick shade rather than delve deep into my soul. But even if the cosmetic color is Heavenly Bliss, it will not lead me to an eternal reward.
That is why I was so excited to peruse Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life by Deanna G. Bartalini. It is Volume 3 of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women. (Volumes 1 and 2 are The Gift of Invitation and Exploring the Catholic Classics: How Spiritual Reading Can Help You Grow in Wisdom.)
What I enjoyed most about Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life is that it offers prayer and reflection prompts for journaling. (This saves me from writing about makeup all day.) I find that, with these prompts, my journaling time is more focused and inspired.
For instance, consider this “invitation to ponder,” from p. 36:
In your own life, is there a lack of peace? Consider whether it is internal or external peace that needs attention. What is your most pressing concern that causes the lack of peace?
You guessed right — lipstick is not the primary cause of my lack of peace. The insightful questions enabled me to meditate on the situations in my life that cause me angst. Committing these thoughts to paper is the first step toward attaining lasting peace.
Deanna also culls from her own life to provide reflections that enable the reader to cultivate the fruits of the Holy Spirit. For instance, in writing about joy, Deanna shares what can cause joy to be elusive:
I work in a geographic area synonymous with affluence. And while my life is comfortable, I still have to do many mundane things like laundry and house cleaning and yard work. I often look over at the folks who do not, and I get a bit envious. It is funny that when I look at their Tesla, Audi, or Mercedes Benz, I’m not impressed at all. I’m envious of the time money can buy not the things money can buy, but that is still envy that steals my joy.
In addition to joy, Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life offers guidance for advancing in love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It offers opening and closing prayers, scripture passages, and stories to ignite your journaling.
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I really need more of the Holy Spirit in my life. I’m guessing you do, too. This book is a winsome way to draw closer to the third person of the Blessed Trinity, and to enjoy the gifts that the Spirit bestows.
How has journaling brought you closer to God?
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Copyright 2018 Maria V. Gallagher