FREE Lenten Journal 2019

That’s right! The FREE Lenten Journal for 2019 is here and ready for you to print and download. I’m so excited to share this one with you. I’ve made some formatting changes from previous seasonal journals to hopefully ease the print-load on your end.

Unlike Advent last year, I’ve only done one journal for Lent. This is the lectio divina based journal where each day I’ve prayerfully chosen one verse or passage from the daily readings for your prayer and reflection. For those who don’t know or aren’t familiar, lectio divina is an ancient way of praying the Scriptures. You select a verse to meditate on, reading it aloud a few times and letting the words really sink into you. Often, a single word or phrase will stand out in a particular way, drawing your attention to it. Spend a few more minutes pondering what God is speaking to you through this word, then respond in prayer to that message. Maybe God is challenging you to rethink a situation, or is offering you comfort during a difficulty. Perhaps He is revealing His generosity or the greatness of His mercy. After you respond in prayer, sit in silence and adoration, basking in the love God has for you.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/40e41uogel0i3uy/2019%20Lent%20Lectio%20Divina%20Journal.pdf?dl=0
Click on the image or the link above to access the pdf file. You do not need a dropbox account to access the file.

Lectio Divina is a beautiful way to slow down during your day and to spend intentional time with the Lord. The word or phrase you encountered during your prayer could serve as a mantra or focus for your day, something you continue to meditate on even after your dedicated lectio time is over.

Please, please share this post with everyone and anyone you think would like to have a quality, solid and free Lenten resource. There are so many options out there, but not many of them are so easily or readily accessible.

I would also love to hear your thoughts on this journal. If you happen to have downloaded my journals in the past, it would be great to hear how you felt this one compared to the others. Feel free to email me (in my profile bio along the side), comment below or reach out on social media. Here’s that link one more time.


In related news, I think I’ve found my word that will be guiding my Lenten season. My word for 2019 is officially “Follow-Through” and I’ve been working hard on embodying that. Responding to emails in a timely way, remembering to return library books on time, actually getting out of bed when my alarm goes off (mostly, this one is so hard people, seriously). I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m feeling better already about myself and in my self-respect.

Inspired by this, my word for Lent is going to be “Presence.” Part of following through on things is making sure I’m ready and able to be present when and where I need to be. If I promise to be at someone’s house for a playdate at 10, then in order to follow through on that I need to have the presence of mind that morning to leave the house at the right time. I can’t be worrying about yesterday, fussing about tomorrow, or getting caught up in too many tasks. Follow through also means my actual presence is usually required in some matter for something. Emails won’t write themselves. Library books don’t walk back to the library for me (wouldn’t that be awesome!) In order to follow through, I need to be present to that situation.

So, the way I’m going to practice being fully present is by not yelling through the house for my kids. And this is going to be really tough because we have a long, winding house which, long story, used to be two houses that are now joined in the middle. It’s super fun but also challenging when the person you need is on the other side of the house. Instead of shouting for that person, (which is usually followed by the unfair chastisement that they ought to come talk to me instead of shouting through the house….like I just did), I’m going to get up, or pause what I’m doing, and go seek that child out. I’ll make eye contact, speak calmly and have a moment of true presence with them. At least, I hope. A fast from yelling, I’m not sure how it will go, but I think it’s worth a try. I’m still working on how my word of “Presence” will factor into prayer and almsgiving, but there’s still some time yet.

What are you hoping for this Lent? Will you try the word or phrase idea for focusing your Lenten practices?

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Book Review: Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Mary

I’m a sucker for beautiful pictures of Mary. Especially when she is pregnant or while Jesus is young. As a youngish mom with four kids I connect very strongly with this image. The hopeful expectation, the waiting, the she-totally-gets-how-it-feels-when-I-can’t-roll-over feeling, all of it. It’s probably why Advent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. I’m surrounded by these images of Mary and the Holy Family and it brings my heart so much joy. The new Advent meditation journal Rejoice! by Fr. Mark Toups is full of beautiful reflection and gorgeous paintings. And I mean gorgeous! So gorgeous if anyone wanted to give me the set to hang in my house I would be overjoyed…hint hint.

Rejoice! is published by Ascension Press, so you know it’s solid in its theology, wisdom and direction. I have gone through the entire book and used so many book darts! The book encourages imaginative prayer, which is a prayer form that I think our culture is uniquely suited for but no one talks about much. Imaginative prayer comes to us as a formal prayer from from St. Ignatius. Fr. Toups explains that “we imaginatively see the persons in the Bible passage, we hear the words they speak, and we observe the actions they accomplish in the event.” It’s taking the time to slow down enough to be in the scene. 

Then, after spending time within the passage, you move onto a method called A.R.R.R. – Acknowledge, Relate, Receive, Respond. You acknowledge how God is stirring within you, you relate to God (this means talking straight to God, not thinking about what you think God thinks or wants you to think, but real and deep sharing of everything that was brought to your mind), receive what God is sharing with you and lastly, respond to what you’ve received. You are also encouraged to journal about your experience so you can look back and see how you’ve grown and how God has shaped you during this Advent. 

What is so cool, and I didn’t pick up on until reflecting back on the meditations as a whole, is that Fr. Toups very gently leads you through this A.R.R.R. process over the four weeks of Advent. The first week is spent looking deeply at where God is in our life. The second is about relating with God in a vulnerable and authentic way. The third is about our receptivity, how open and empty are we so that we might receive God more fully. And the fourth, though short this year, challenges us to respond proactively to what we have experienced over the four weeks. It’s so brilliant.

Ascension, has carefully thought through the whole package. Their ideal for the meditations as stated in the very beginning, is for this to be a community walk with Mary. There are additional videos that offer fresh and expanded insights on each of the four weeks of Advent. They have free videos online right now, plus there is an Advent Mission Kick-off video which is about thirty minutes to help your small group or parish get things going. You can also sign up to have the weekly videos sent straight to your email if you are hosting a gathering in your home, or if you are simply journeying as a family. Community is an integral part of holiness and I love how it is gently and thoughtfully woven into this journal experience. 

If your parish is looking for something to do together this Advent season, it’s not too late to get your journals in bulk. Be brave, if this review has inspired you bring it to your priest or parish coordinator. You could be the spark that begins a wonderful Advent experience for your whole community.

I can totally see our family using this journal around the dinner table, and sharing in a joint imaginative prayer experience with our children – aren’t they the best at it? As I was writing this review, my seven year old came up and asked what I was doing. After I explained and we went through the pictures, he said “That’s cool,” and walked away. Later that day, he was sitting with his four year old sister and I overheard him saying,

“Clare, we have to get ready for Advent. Mommy has a book and it has pictures of Mary in it. It helps her get ready for Advent. What comes after Advent?”

“Christmas!” she shouted.

“Right,” he said, “So we all have to get ready for Jesus.”

How precious, and that’s just from looking at the pictures! Also, p.s., the pictures are all free and available right now to download for your phone or computer to use throughout Advent. Check them out here. You know I already have them downloaded. I hope you check this journal out, maybe even share it with a friend or two or twenty!

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Advent Journals are Here!

I’m so pleased to share with you all these Advent Journals. As you may have noticed, Advent is quickly approaching and there are so many wonderful resources available to help deepen and enrich your Advent experience.

For the past few years, I’ve noticed a need for Advent journals that cover a few bases. 1. They are Scripturally based 2. They are simple 3. They are not time consuming but still powerful 4. They are free. I have 2 different journals this year so be sure to read to the bottom to hear about both. One is based on lectio divina, the other is a deeper look at the 4 Sundays of Advent.

Lectio Divina Journal

In the journal I’ve highlighted one or two verses from the daily readings for reflection. There is space to prepare yourself for lectio and think about what’s going on in your life that day. What’s joyful, stressful, exciting or bothering you? Your lectio experience is colored by what’s happening in your life and it is good to take a moment to acknowledge what you are bringing to the table. There is also a place for your Word or phrase that has been highlighted during your reading as well as your prayerful response to God’s movements in your heart. Finally, there is room to think creatively about what God is calling you to do or change as inspired by the day’s prayer. 

The journal includes an overview of what lectio divina is, how to pray it and why it’s such a rich experience of prayer. As I said, I have chosen one or two verses for your reflection. However, maybe you already have a habit of reading the daily readings. Maybe a different verse stood out to you. At the very end of the journal is a blank page. It has all the formatting and different writing spaces, but the Scripture portion is blank. You can use this page to write your own verses in. 

Remember, this is completely free and is a pdf. So you can print the whole thing if you are going to use the verses I chose. Or you can print that last page 30 times and fill in your own verse every day. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed and already have a daily Advent devotional but want to give lectio divina a try – just print a week and see how it goes. Maybe every Sunday would work better. This is completely customizable to you. 

4 Sundays of Advent Journal

This is the brand new journal and I’m so excited about. I was inspired by a few things. First by my long-term writing project on the Philippians 2 Christ hymn. In that project, I am doing a deep study of the hymn, looking at the historical, theological, ecclesial, and liturgical significance and why it is a piece of Scripture that we all should know inside and out. I was also inspired by Every Sacred Sunday and how their Mass journals encourage Catholics to spend quality time preparing for Mass. If you are looking for something long term to help you dig deeper into the Sunday readings all year long, I cannot recommend their journals enough.

My new Advent Journal works like this. The first and super important thing you need to know is that it starts on Nov. 26. Yes, that’s before Advent actually begins. But, if you are going to be preparing for the 4 Sundays of Advent, you’ve got to start before the first Sunday, right?

Ok, got that cleared up. Mondays we spend time with the First Reading. Tuesdays the Psalm. Wednesdays the Second Reading. Thursdays the Gospel. Each page has the reading as well as space for any notes, questions or insights you might have while reading. There is also space for a brief prayer or reflection on what you’ve read. Think of this as lectio divina lite. 

Friday’s I offer a theological reflection on the readings. These include any historical information that is relevant, how the readings fit together, and what they can say to us today. It concludes with a quote from a saint that illuminates the overall theme of the Sunday.

Saturday encompasses how we can take what we’ve learned and grow in the week to come. I include another brief reflection, followed by questions or ideas meant to inspire you to apply the readings to your daily life and enhance your Advent experience. 

Sunday is a simple page for homily notes or other reflections you have on these readings. Perhaps you have another Advent devotional you are doing side by side and want to write down a special quote or work through a new idea. Here is space to do it, especially in light of the Sunday readings. 

Click below for a closer look at the Four Sundays of Advent Journal. You will be opening a pdf document which you can print for your own personal use. 

Click below for a closer look at the Four Sundays of Advent Journal. You will be opening a pdf document which you can print for your own personal use. 

I’m so excited for your Advent journey. It would be great to hear from you which journal you chose and why. I love feedback and want to keep developing these into quality, useful tools for you to deepen your relationship with God. Do please share with anyone you think would benefit from these journals. 

God bless

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com