Last year, when I received a review copy of Abide in My Word and the companion prayer journal, I thought it was a good idea. But you know, the thing is that I’m not a really good journaler. I realize this is one of those great ironies of my life: I’m a writer and I’m full of things to say, but I’m not so great at journaling. I feel about journaling like I feel about stopping what I’m doing to eat: I’ll do it if I have to.
But these two books, which are available yearly from Word Among Us Press, turned out to be just what my morning prayer time needed. My starting to use them coincided with the Daily Gospel Reflections at CatholicMom.com, and I found myself starting to read scripture in a way that I’ve been meaning to for years.
Now, I know that I can get the daily Mass readings for free. I do, in fact, get them from the USCCB in my inbox every morning. But there’s something distracting for me about using my phone or tablet or computer screen to read them regularly. I don’t have enough self-discipline to keep myself focused on reading and reflecting on the scripture: I’m thinking ahead to what needs done in that never-ending to-do list that involves my various screens.
Being able to sit in the visual silence of an actual book helps me focus on what God may be saying to me. (Of course, that’s all theory. Abide in My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips is straightforward, no nonsense: it has the Mass readings for every day of the year. That’s all it is: a big book of the Mass readings.It’s a good size too: not teeny tiny, about half the size of what I consider a standard Bible. (Amazon tells me it weighs 1.4 pounds.)
Now, take the Abide in My Word and add The Gift of Eternal Life prayer journal which gives you a chance to jot your thoughts. The brilliance here is that there’s not a TON of room to write. There are quotes from saints or scripture at the top of each page, and every month has a paragraph for reflection kicking it off. I found it incredibly…helpful (which seems like such a lame way to describe it, but it’s the most accurate word).
Coupled with the Daily Gospel Reflections, I found myself really considering what God was saying to me through his Word. Most of the time, I didn’t have deep insight or enlightening thoughts. Usually, I was struggling and going, “What in the heck is THAT supposed to mean?”
The theme for the journal this year is inspired by St. Catherine of Siena. From Word Among Us’s website:
“All the way to heaven is heaven,” wrote St. Catherine of Siena, “because Jesus said, ‘I am the way.’” The gift of eternal life begins with our baptism and ends in paradise, where we will live forever in God’s embrace. The theme for this year’s prayer journal will help remind us each day to look to Jesus, who is our way to heaven. And as we spend each morning in prayer with the Lord, we can draw closer to him by recording our thoughts, reflections, petitions, and answered prayers.
I found that there were sometimes whole weeks where I would not be able to do my journaling or reading the scriptures in the book (that’s where that email from the USCCB came in handy). But it was always there, waiting for me. And it remains waiting for me into 2015. Thanks be to God!