St. Ignatius (creator of a set of spiritual exericses for the spiritual life of a disciple of Jesus) spent part of his time in prayer and part of his time in writing. His spiritual journal helped him discern the different spirits stirring in his prayer, reflections, spiritual conversations, and daily life. So began the prayer-reflection-action prayer cycle, which is the way of “contemplatives in action.”
Nothing is immediate and change is a slow process, much like a flower opening up, moving towards the light. In due season, we become who we truly are. Over time, our spiritual journal becomes clear in speaking the voice of the Holy Spirit.
* My spiritual journal is a keeper of consolation (experiences with the Spirit, leading to inner peace) and truth.
* It is a “source spring” for gratitude.
* It gives me time to absorb my spiritual prayer experience.
* It tells me what I have discovered.
* It enables me to accumulate wisdom.
See your journal as a “listening book”. It is a book you listen to after giving it your reflections. It is much like a good friend. Write and tell it what you feel, think and want to say. Then after some time (an hour, a day, or a week), return to it and read what you have written. “Listen” to your Listening Book as it reveals new meanings, understanding and fresh feelings. The original prayer experience in a spiritual exercise virtually always has much more in it that we might first realise. Most graces burst over time. So listen with great care as you re-read the words. Even the Holy Spirit will speak to you through your Listening Book. [Example: the disciples reflecting on the road to Emmaus]
After finishing your spiritual exercises, sit or walk around for a few minutes and reflect on your prayer time. Then write down what has passed through your soul.
Uses for a Listening Book:
1. Reflecting after a spiritual exercise or other prayer.
2. Reflecting after a spiritual conversation.
3. Reflecting after an Awareness Examen.
4. Reflecting during an important life event.
5. Helping me to teach others.
Day One is a terrific journal App.
[This is from the chapter called Ignatian Guide to Spiritual Journaling in the book The First Spiritual Exercises by Michael Hansen, p.349]