This post is part of our Ordinary Time, Extraordinary Mercy series, in which CatholicMom.com contributors will share their own experiences of living the Year of Mercy. Beginning at Pentecost and continuing through the summer, we’ll cover many aspects of the Works of Mercy in family life.
A few months ago, Emily Jaminet and I spoke about our book, Divine Mercy for Moms, Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina, at a local Catholic school Mom’s Night Out event. It was a beautiful night of faith and fellowship for everyone. We were able to connect with some old friends and make new ones as we all shared our journeys of faith and living lives of mercy.
As a gift for spending time with the women that night, Sr. John Paul, OP, the principal, gave us each a copy of the Disciple of Mercy Journal 2016. It was written by Sr. John Dominic Rasmussen, OP, one of the founders of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. The book’s purpose is to help readers know Christ more intimately through the practice of Lectio Divina, a method of reading, contemplating, praying and meditating on the scriptures in order to hear God’s voice. The 12 weeks of daily meditations are written to assist readers in opening themselves to God’s mercy and then reaching out by living the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
I’ve always wanted to pray over Scripture with this early monastic tradition but allowed many things to get in the way. I was too busy or tired, the practice was too difficult – my list of excuses was endless. Then, when Sr. John Dominic herself invited Emily and me to speak in Ann Arbor for a Mom’s Night Out, I told her I’d been given her journal. Although I wasn’t actively using it at that point, I was using her other materials on the virtues for our “Virtue Club” at the Catholic school my children attend. She asked if I would share about the journal with the women at the Mom’s Night Out. Knowing how God often works in me, I realized he was prodding me to study scripture through Lectio Divina, especially during this Extraordinary Year of Mercy. Taking the hint, I began my journaling process.
Honestly, I’m not a journaling kind of girl. However, spending just 10 minutes a night before bed with this journal has been an amazing experience. The best part about the Disciple of Mercy Journal is that it’s designed for everyone, including children as young as sixth grade, so Sr. John Dominic has made it exceptionally easy for moms!
Each day includes one paragraph of scripture to read, re-read and pray over, followed by a few short questions to answer and meditate on, then ends with a “Daily Examination.” It’s an extremely effective way to deepen one’s faith life and I found myself developing a much healthier, more dependable prayer routine. In addition to the scripture reading and questions, the journal contains stunning artwork, explanations of the Works of Mercy, great ideas for moms and their kids to live them out in daily life, and even tidbits on the saints.
My experience with the journal was so positive that Emily and I decided to encourage the women at the talk in Ann Arbor to incorporate the Disciple of Mercy Journal into their group study of Divine Mercy for Moms! We explained that after working through each chapter of Divine Mercy for Moms, spending an additional 10 to 20 minutes meditating on the Word of God would undoubtedly provide even deeper transformation in a mother’s life.
Whether you do it alone or in conjunction with Divine Mercy for Moms, I would highly recommend using the Disciple of Mercy Journal during this special year of mercy. God has so many graces in store for us this year and by meditating on his Word, he will certainly pour them into your life.
Copyright Michele Faehnle 2016.