- Journaling with Jesus Enhances Your Relationship with Christ
Journaling with Jesus has benefits, and using my latest Holy Hour journal can help with the process. Devotion to the Divine Child Jesus is a popular worldwide Catholic devotion that gained prominence during the last century. Apparitions of the young Jesus have been recorded through the centuries and enhanced the lives of many.
About a year ago, I came across the painting of the young Jesus by Émile Munier when it graced the cover of one of Magnificat's issues. I immediately fell in love. There was something about the image that captured my attention. Of course, I'd been familiar with the Infant Jesus of Prague most of my life as my mother had a tiny Infant of Prague statue in her bedroom. Although she wasn't Catholic and didn't follow any particular denomination, my mother genuinely liked the little figure dressed in his crown and royal vestments. Since her death, I've adopted a similar devotion, and the tiny Infant of Prague now maintains pride of place in my home. In addition, I've featured the Divine Child on the cover of one of my journals, My Holy Hour – Jesus.
My Mother's Relationship with the Infant of Prague
My mom lived to be 98. Unfortunately, during her last few months, she had bouts of dementia due to a highly resistant and recurring infection. During her last hospital stay, she fell into a three-day delusion. She was back in Germany on a train trying to leave the country. She had to return to the USA to see her parents, but I was in the way. We remained in this 3-minute loop for several days.
One night when I went home to shower and change, I saw her statue of the Infant of Prague in the bedroom. Without thinking, I picked it up and carried it to the hospital, where I placed it on the hospital bedside table. Throughout the night, she grew calmer.
I noticed the change and found the novena prayer to the Infant of Prague and offered my prayers. The following day, the delusion left the way a black cloud dissipates to allow the sun's warmth to breakthrough. After that day, I've always made it a point to thank the Divine Child Jesus whenever I attend mass.
My relationship with the Divine Child Jesus
Over the next several weeks leading to my mom's death, I experienced a few more moments when I felt the influence of the Infant of Prague. Since then, I've had my own particular devotion. I guess that's why when I saw this Émile Munier painting, I immediately had the impulse to create a journal with this stunning piece of Catholic art. I use this blank-lined journal to record my thoughts and prayers to the Divine Child. For me, it's perfect for journaling with Jesus.
How to Meet the Divine Child
The Divine Child is a perfect cover for a holy hour journal. Think of the image as a mini-icon. It truly is a window into heaven. Prayerfully concentrating on the image of Christ as an infant or as a young boy can help move you into a more profound meditation on Christ in a new, awakening way. What kind of child was he? How did he interact with the natural world? How did family, friends, and neighbors embrace him?
Ask what his world was like. Imagine being a neighbor of the Blessed Holy Family. What would you have experienced? How would you have felt? Imagine those moments, then reflect upon the experience. Journaling with Jesus can carry you back to those first days when Jesus walked the earth.
More About Journaling with Jesus
The cover of this journal makes it easy to use the image as a focal point that helps settle the mind and enter a more prayerful state. I often liken it to having a conversation as the image gives wing to thoughts of related prayers and petitions.
Journaling with Jesus Prompts
Years ago, I was in Arizona at a retreat where I spent every morning walking and praying for about 20-30 minutes. One morning I started thinking about what it must have been like for Jesus, both as an adult and as a child, to walk the earth experiencing the natural world through human senses. My own senses heightened as I noticed the quick flight of birds, the slow dance of a butterfly, and the hidden toad among a pile of leaves. I awakened to a more profound wonder of creation.
There are many ways to imagine Jesus as the Divine Child. To get started, read Luke, chapter 2. Then try these prompts for your journaling with Jesus time:
- Imagine yourself as someone who accompanied the Wise Men. What did you see, feel, and think? What was it like to be part of that great event?
- Think about the young boy, Jesus, leaving his parents and going to the temple. Imagine yourself there with the teachers. How would you receive him? Remember, he is the adopted son of a local carpenter who is listening and questioning the teachers.
- We are told that Mary pondered the events and words surrounding her son as he grew and “advanced in wisdom and age and grace wtih God and men.” Events like the nativity, the presentation of Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem, and Simeon's prophecy. What stands out to you and why?
Journaling as a Spiritual Discipline
Keeping a journal is a great way to engage in a spiritual discipline. There isn't any right or wrong way to journal. Think of it as a way to move thoughts, feelings, and events from your mind onto the page. Once on the page, you can engage with those thoughts and feelings, images and activities, in a whole new way. Think of it as a unique opportunity to enhance your spiritual journey and gain a fresh glimpse of the glory of God.
For a deeper reflection and understanding, you might try spiritual journaling. If you've never thought about journaling as a way to draw closer to God, get the free guide “How to Use a Prayer Journal during Holy Hour here.
Image Sources: Jesus by Émile Munier, Wikipedia, Infant de Prague, stock photo