The Passion of Christ is such a powerful story and yet sometimes I forget how much it relates to my own life today. I simply go through the motions during Holy Week and don’t allow myself to truly experience the lessons as God intended. I think this is because the traditional mode of “listening” in church is not enough to engage me.
I’m a visual-kinesthetic learner, which means I need to see and move in order to process information. That’s why journal writing is such a critical tool for me. I use my journal to help me reflect and examine different perspectives. I even bring my journal to church to take notes during the homily, write down scripture passages or hymnal verses and remain fully present and engaged during Mass. If you’re looking for a new way to explore the lessons of Holy Week, try keeping a Lenten Journal.
Twelve Writing Reflections for Lent
Write about a time when you felt rejected or betrayed by a friend. How did you react? How was this similar or different from the way in which Jesus reacted to the betrayal by Judas? Write a description of this person. Describe the friend in detail including all of his or her strengths and weaknesses. What do you know about this person that may have caused him or her to betray you?
The Religious Leaders: Envy/Jealousy
Write about a time when you experienced envy or jealousy. Describe a time when you judged others unfairly or felt unjustly judged by others. How did you call upon the strength of Christ in this situation? Now write about the same situation from someone else’s perspective. Can you see both sides of the story now?
Recall a time when you were willing but weak — a time when you avoided doing the right thing. Are you facing a difficult choice in your life today? Describe your choice in detail and listen for God’s voice as you consider your options. Try scripting a conversation with God in your journal.
Pontius Pilate: Courage
Pilate was persuaded by the crowd to condemn Jesus to the cross. Describe a time when you acted out of fear or were persuaded by others to do something you knew was wrong. Write a letter asking God for the courage to stand up for what you believe.
Describe a time in your life when you felt mocked or criticized by others. How did you react – anger, defensiveness? Write a prayer asking Christ for the strength and patience to react with conviction and humility.
Recall a time when you felt pressed into service for another. Did you accept the task willingly? What are the crosses you bear today? Find a scripture verse, hymn or quote to inspire you and lift the burden of those crosses. Write it in your journal or on a nice paper and keep it someplace where you can see it.
Women of Jerusalem: Compassion and Empathy
Describe a time when you showed compassion or empathy for another who was troubled or grieving. How is it a gift to yourself when you are able to help others? Name a time when you focused on others rather than yourself. How can you allow others to receive a gift by helping you? Write a thank you note to yourself from someone who has received the gift of compassion or empathy from you.
Jesus tells the penitent criminal “Today you will be with me in paradise.” He also calls out to God, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Recall a time when you were forgiven by someone. How did it feel to be relieved of the burden? Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who has wronged you.
Mary: Finding Joy
Jesus meets his mother and tells her not to weep. Describe a time in your life when you were able to find humor, joy or a ‘silver lining’ in the midst of pain and suffering. Use clustering or mind-mapping to explore your thoughts on the word “Joy.” Start by writing the word “Joy” in the center of your page and then use free- association to add words or phrases that come to mind. When you have covered your page, take a look and notice any themes that emerge.
Soldiers: Worldly Possessions
Jesus was stripped of his clothing and soldiers gambled for his belongings. Name three of your most prized possessions. Why they are so meaningful to you. What would happen if you were to lose them? Write in your journal how you would feel.
Jesus Dies on the Cross: Surrender
Just before He died on the cross, Jesus called out in despair, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Describe a time when you felt abandoned and hopeless? Later, Jesus surrenders to God’s will: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Name one area of your life which you desire to turn over to God entirely. Write a dialogue with God asking for Him to lead the way for you in this area of your life. Promise to follow His lead.
Easter Sunday: Alleluia
Just as Jesus overcomes death, we are called to rise above our failures, our burdens and our struggles. Write a prayer in praise of God for His almighty power and thanking Him for your own personal victories and triumphs. Make a list of “50 things God has done through me.”
Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. She helps entrepreneurial moms build their businesses with wisdom and grace through the Christian Mompreneur Mastermind program and her professional Mompreneur Marketingservices, which include copywriting, marketing and consulting.
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Theresa is also co-founder of Write to Health, a guided journaling experience dedicated to encouraging people to discover the health benefits of writing. To begin your healing journey, take the F.R.E.E. 7-Day Journal Challenge today!