For some years, I have kept a journal, which has now become a series of lined notebooks. They are filled with poems, book lists, draft book reviews and blog posts, quotations I want to remember, sermon notes, notes made from presentations and speeches, and really anything that I might want to write down. It’s not a spiritual journal per se, but it does include spiritual thoughts and questions.
Paraclete Press has been taking a more directed approach to journals, and specifically spiritual journals. Author Hilda St. Clair has created a second spiritual journal, Love Never Fails: A Journal to be Inspired by the Power of Love, that focuses specifically on the idea of Christian love (her first, All Shall Be Well, has the theme of hope and encouragement).
The journal’s approach is simple. Using beautiful (and original) artwork and quotations, the journal presents a series of simple exercises and questions. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive Bible study or an exercise requiring extended periods of time. Instead, the journal encourages simplicity and reflection.
The sources for the quotations include, various books of the Bible, St. Augustine, Julian of Norwich, Bernard of Clairvaux, Martin Luther King Jr., Wendell Berry, Henri Nouwen, Mother Teresa, C.S. Lewis, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Merton, among many other Christians. And the quotations also come from more secular sources, like Elie Wiesel, Victor Hugo, Maya Angelou, Charles Dickens, and Jewish and Swedish proverbs.
The exercises are simple. “Think about a tough decision you once made. What made you do it? What role did love play?” is an example. The purpose is to encourage reflection about the role spiritual role plays in our lives, our actions, our relationships, and our thoughts.
St. Clair is an author and artist who lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Love Never Fails is a book of quiet, thoughtful exercises, designed for completion while you sit by yourself with a cup of tea of coffee, reflecting upon the role love plays in your life.
Photograph by Daria Sukhorukova via Unsplash.