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Daily Quick-Journal and The Fruits of Meditation

September 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Journaling, Meditation

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 augustine-botticelliSpirit 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?

ugustMullerTagebucheintragJournalNotebookDiaryAt 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.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Thank you for this helpful post. I am going to use your list of questions in meditation. They came at the perfect time; I’m off for a 6 day silent retreat.
    Thanks and God Bless!

  • Dan Burke

    Karin – I am glad that this was helpful to you. God bless you as you seek Him. Be assured of my prayers.

  • Sharon

    This is just perfect! What a concise and practical help. It brings more “order” to my meditation and helps me not feel all over the place. I just used it for this mornings meditation and feel so grateful for the guide! Thanks so much!!!

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