Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

Deciding How to Pick a Lenten Devotional Journal

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It's getting harder and harder to decide what to pick for my Lenten Devotional Journal. Who's with me? There are so many to choose from and not enough time to do it all. How do you decide? For me, there's the huge issue of "FOMO" (Fear of Missing Out); I see some that look really great on social media and I want to get them all. Unfortunately, Lent is only 40 days; last year it seemed to fly by. I wasn't ready for it to end because I enjoyed my Lenten journey.
Just a few short years ago I had trouble finding a Catholic Journal. There were plenty of Protestant Journals but none that were specific for Catholics. I think the first one I found was from Blessed is She. Now it seems like I get an offer for a different one every other day. Oh, sure, you can do your own journal by reading the Daily Mass Readings and writing down your thoughts (which is basically what I've started doing) but to me, Lent is different. I want a little more guidance during that liturgically time of the year. What follows is not an exhaustive list; included is some of the journals that I've found that may be of interest.

🕈 To the End: the story of sacrificial love Lenten Journal (Blessed is She). Written by BiS founder Jenna Guizar with Beth Davis and Nell O'Leary helping her out, the journal focuses on the Gospel of John 11-19. Included is a weekly examen and space to journal for Sunday Mass. Cost: $25 with free shipping in the USA. You can't go wrong with any of the journals from Blessed is She!

🕈 Give Up Worry for Lent: 40 Days to Finding Peace in Christ (Gary Zimak- Ave Maria Press). This journal presents scripture and advice based on scripture to let go of things beyond your control through 4 steps: Read, Reflect, Respond, Pray. This isn't technically a "journal" per se because there is no space in the book to write your thoughts. You'd need your own notebook for journaling. I'm going to remember this book for next year. Cost: $13.95 + $2.75 shipping

🕈 BEST LENT EVER Jounal (Dynamic Catholic). This journal is designed to use with the daily Lenten reflections that are delivered to your email box. There isn't a preview available on the website and the "About" section wasn't descriptive enough to be able to say more about it. I do love Matthew Kelly and everything the Dynamic Catholic crew is doing, so it's definitely worth a look. Cost: $14.95 + $5.95 shipping.

🕈 The St. Paul Center is offering a free online study: Genesis to Jesus. It explores how and why we should read the Bible. A participant workbook is offered for $16.00 + free shipping in the USA. Scott Hahn is "da bomb" when it comes to understanding our faith. When purchasing, one option is to also buy Dr. Hahn's book; I already had it. It's not necessary for the study but it appears to be a companion for further reading.
🕈 Remember Your Death A Lenten Devotional (Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP- Pauline Books) This may seem a little morbid, but dying is a fact, and we need to be ready when our time on earth is up. This devotional isn't a journal; however, it does have a section for journaling in your own book. Cost: $16.95 + $3.75 shipping.

🕈 Lenten Gospel Reflections (Bishop Robert Barron- Word on Fire). A friend gave me the Advent version which was awesome so I couldn't pass this up when I saw it. The reflections are based on the Daily Mass Readings with a short reflection by Bishop Barron and a suggestion for meditation and journaling. Space for journaling is included. Cost: FREE with $5.95 shipping.

🕈 If those weren't enough, the crew from Take Up and Read has a new book Hosanna. This journal uses Lectio Divina to delve into the Gospel of Matthew. This is where my FOMO comes in: I saw this all over Instagram and fear I may be missing out. I suppose if I called in sick every day during Lent I would get through everything I wanted to, but obviously, that isn't an option! Cost: $22.00 on Amazon, so if you have Prime you know what that means: free shipping!

🕈 Women in the New Evangelization (WINE) is offering Walk in her Sandals: Experiencing Christ's Passion Through the Eyes of Women (Kelly  M. Wahlquist) for their Lenten Book Club. You don't have to be in a "book club" to participate, you can do a self-study or follow along in their Facebook group. This was the book they used for Lent 2018 but the study guide is different. Cost: $15.95 (book only), $14.95 (journal only), or $25 (bundle-includes book, journal, and bookmark - members receive a discount!). Another case of FOMO settling in: Kelly Wahlquist is going to be the keynote speaker for our Diocesan CCW Convention in April, so I feel the need to get this and use it this Lent. Maybe something else will have to be put on the backburner?

🕈 A couple of other books worth mentioning: Scott Hahn's Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises (Franciscan Media) - which is recommended to accompany the free online study- (I did this last year along with the Blessed is She journal) and What Jesus Saw from the Cross (A.G. Sertillanges- Sophia Institute Press). Lenten Reflections' cost is $15.99 +  $1.90 shipping (if you spend $30 from Franciscan Media you receive free shipping); the cost of What Jesus Saw: $18.95 + $5.00 shipping for paperback and $9.95 for ebook.

Okay, Y'all: What did I miss? What are your plans for Lent, or have you not started thinking about yet? If you haven't, better get crackin'! Picking a Lenten Devotional is a very tough decision and it's getting harder with every year.

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