This is why you need to keep a spiritual journal

A few years ago, I attended a Catholic youth retreat with Youth Teams of Our Lady Canada where a speaker proposed keeping a spiritual journal.

I have been a journal keeper since I could write, but I never thought to bring God into my daily writing. I also had written letters to God previously, but this kind of writing was usually reserved for a special occasion such as a Catholic retreat or a novena.

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A spiritual journal differs from a diary. It’s not meant to merely summarize your daily events or empty your mind. Instead, it is meant to help you recount your spiritual life in God and experience communion with him.

Over the course of keeping a spiritual journal, I observed its many benefits :

  1. Keeping a spiritual journal allows me to see God’s work clearly in my life. As I read back and review specific prayers I wrote to God, I can see how over the months they have been answered.
  2. It is also a great tool to track my prayers and be accountable to myself. Did I pray my Rosary every day this week? Did I do an examination of conscience?
  3. The journal makes it clear to me which vices I struggle with most and where I need to ask God’s grace to help me change into the daughter he called me to be.
  4. It has become a place of communion with God. I know that every word I write is being heard by God because that is my intention as I write. I am allowing him and the Blessed Mother into this sacred space.
  5. It also is a place where my communication to God is clearer. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words vocally. Some of us can get distracted easily or lose our train of thought as we pray out loud. For an introvert like myself, writing to Our Lord allows me time to communicate with clarity and focus.
  6. Writing daily to God reinforces my relationship with him. I develop a deeper intimacy and communion with Our Lord when I am routinely updating my spiritual journal.
  7. The journal allows me to grow on my spiritual journey and make it a priority. Asking God to be part of my daily writing, I can see an evolution in my interior life and my walk with him.
  8. It allows me to have a clear picture of my beliefs and the many lies I hold that are not part of my identity as a daughter of God. I gain awareness of my entire belief system and can practice letting go of what doesn’t serve my identity in Christ.
  9. The journal allows me to practice gratitude when I forget the many blessings God has already granted me.
  10. It allows me to remember that God is real. We all have moments of doubt in our faith life. Moments where we don’t believe God hears us or has forgotten about us. A spiritual journal can turn this around when we recall the many times he has already helped us. We can experience the truth that is found in his peace again.

I believe that there is no right or wrong way to manage a spiritual journal. I have had entire journals dedicated to my spiritual life, and I have had regular journals with sections within them dedicated to God. It all depends on what your preferences are and how organized you like to be.

An invitation

God always meets us where we are, what’s important is to allow him the space to encounter us. He is always available to us and is only waiting on us to invite him into our daily journaling.

As Mother Teresa said, “We are all pencils in the hand of God.” All we need is a little bit of courage to take that pencil and write our story.

Do you enjoy keeping a journal? Will you consider inviting Our Lord into your daily writing?

If the idea of keeping a spiritual journal still seems intimidating to you, you can ask the intercession of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists. He wrote letters, tracts and books about holiness in everyday life.

In his most famous book, “Introduction to the Devout Life,” written for lay people and particularly women, he wrote a prayer dedicated to writers:

“Ah, sweet Jesus, my Lord, my Savior, and my God, behold me here prostrate before your Majesty as I pledge and consecrate this writing to your glory. By your blessing give life to its words so that the souls for whom it has been written may receive from it the sacred inspirations I desire for them, in particular that of imploring your infinite mercy in my behalf to the end that while I point out to others the way of devotion in this world I myself may not be rejected and eternally condemned in the other, but that with them I may forever sing as a canticle of triumph words that with my whole heart I utter in witness of fidelity amid the hazards of this mortal life: LIVE, JESUS! LIVE, JESUS! Yes, Lord Jesus, live and reign in our hearts forever and ever. Amen.”

You can print out this prayer and pray it daily before you begin journaling.

May St. Francis de Sales inspire your writing and help you experience daily communion with God through the practice of keeping a spiritual journal.

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