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James Martin, S.J.August 02, 2019
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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This week, let’s look at an important spiritual practice: journaling. That’s basically a fancy way of talking about recording in a journal, or even on your computer, or a cell phone, what happens in your prayer and in your spiritual life. And it’s pretty important in the spiritual life overall. Why? Because our human tendency is, unfortunately, to forget the wonderful things that happen in prayer—the emotions, insights, desires, memories, feelings and images that console us and challenge us. We often do the same with spiritual experiences that happen to us in our daily lives.

Keeping a journal is an antidote to this forgetting. Think of it this way: Imagine Jesus were to come into a room and tell you something. You would obviously treasure his words and want to remember exactly what he said. So you’d certainly write them down, maybe even paint them on the wall of every room in your house. Something like that happens with any deep spiritual experience: God tells us something important. So we should be sure to record it! And when times get tough, it’s good to have those experiences to return to.

A journal also helps us see the progress of our spiritual lives. We can, for example, see how something that was bothering us before has ceased to be a problem, thanks to putting into effect some spiritual insight. So invest in a journal or start to write things down on your laptop or cell phone. When things get tough you’ll be glad you did.

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