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Love Never Fails: A Journal to be Inspired by the Power of Love Paperback – January 1, 2017
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Paraclete Press has been taking a more directed approach to journals, and specifically spiritual journals. Author Hilda St. Clair has created a second spiritual journal, “Love Never Fails: A Journal to be Inspired by the Power of Love,” that focuses specifically on the idea of Christian love (her first, All Shall Be Well, has the theme of hope and encouragement).
The journal’s approach is simple. Using beautiful (and original) artwork and quotations, the journal presents a series of simple exercises and questions. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive Bible study or an exercise requiring extended periods of time. Instead, the journal encourages simplicity and reflection.
The sources for the quotations include, various books of the Bible, St. Augustine, Julian of Norwich, Bernard of Clairvaux, Martin Luther King Jr., Wendell Berry, Henri Nouwen, Mother Teresa, C.S. Lewis, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Merton, among many other Christians. And the quotations also come from more secular sources, like Elie Wiesel, Victor Hugo, Maya Angelou, Charles Dickens, and Jewish and Swedish proverbs.
The exercises are simple. “Think about a tough decision you once made. What made you do it? What role did love play?” is an example. The purpose is to encourage reflection about the role spiritual role plays in our lives, our actions, our relationships, and our thoughts.
St. Clair is an author and artist who lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
“Love Never Fails” is a book of quiet, thoughtful exercises, designed for completion while you sit by yourself with a cup of tea of coffee, reflecting upon the role love plays in your life.
I am smitten by St. Clair's journal (I reviewed her journal All Shall Be Well previously). This is beautiful. The left-hand pages have a full-color piece of art with an inspirational quote. The quotations are mostly drawn from the Christian tradition. The exercises on the right-hand pages offer a good variety of activities. St. Clair has us: draw, color, list things, put stuff in boxes, interpret, plan and act on our reflections. Some of these exercises are conceptual—focusing on how we would describe love or depict it. Other entries evoke gratitude, causing us to reflect on where we've received love from others. Other exercises require action, asking us to love those we know need it. I found using this journal is a lot like going on a spiritual retreat, and this wouldn't be a bad resource to accompany you on one.
You won't learn to love someone from reading a book. You may gain some insights but real love, like prayer, involves sacrifice, presence, and cultivated relationship. Books dispense advice and increase our relational and conceptual awareness, but he who thinks he knows does not yet know as he ought. A Journal like this helps bridge gap. It draws away from mere knowledge toward introspection and self-understanding. St Clair's artwork, quotes, and exercises help us step out, to love in tangible ways with Love as our center.
The publisher's website has a flip-book with some sample pages to give you a sense of what to expect here. I would recommend this both for personal use, or to give away to a loved-one. It is fantastic. I give it five stars.
Note: I received this Journal from Paraclete Press in exchange for my honest review.
I am someone who enjoys coloring, fill in the blanks, and those kind of detailed, creative activities--so this style of meditation is enjoyable to me. It's a lot easier to spend time really thinking about an idea when you have a space for writing down your thoughts, or focused doodling. The colorful, glossy graphics are engaging.