There are many ways to understand God’s leading in our lives. One way, came as a helpful surprise during spiritual direction. My director asked me, “What is the Holy Spirit leading you to focus on at this time?” As a reflex, I reached over to my daily planner and quickly flipped back through the pages – the pattern was clear. Here’s what I discovered – it might work well for you too.
Using Father John’s Bartunek’s method of meditation from “The Better Part,” there are several steps that lead to a sentence or two that I record each day. As a reminder, the four step process is, 1) concentrate, 2) consider, 3) converse, and 4) commit. Usually, by the “converse” step, I get an impression of what God is asking of me. At the “commit” step I translate and record what I am sensing into something actionable that I can look back on at noon each day (mid-day examen).
When I began the habit of meditation I used this list of questions to become more aware of His promptings:
- What is the Lord trying to tell me in this Gospel passage (or reading)?
- What resonance does it have in my heart?
- What implications does it entail for my life?
- How have I behaved up to now in this respect?
- How should I behave from now on?
- What difficulties will I need to overcome?
- What means do I need to use to do so?
At this point, the process is far less mechanical than when I started. However, occasionally I review this list and the method to ensure I stay on track.
The power of this approach, and any healthy journal writing habit, is the ability to see the patterns – to see God’s leading. Though I had not thought of using my daily commitment notes this way – it proved to be a very encouraging, quick, and easy approach to see the clear pattern of God’s movement in my life and prayer.
May your meditation be fruitful and may you hear His voice.
Art: St. Augustine of Hippo [retouched], Sandro Botticelli, 1480, PD-Worldwide; Liebesglück – der Tagebucheintrag (Happiness–the Diary Entry), August Müller, by 1885, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less; both Wikimedia Commons.