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Why I always take notes during church

A few years ago, my sweet husband got us tickets to see Matthew Kelly speak at a local church. He’s a really fun, energetic speaker and if you have the chance to see his presentation, definitely go! One of the most impactful ideas I took from the event was to take notes during Mass.

In his talk and on his website, Kelly suggests,

“When you walk into Mass next Sunday, simply ask God in the quiet of your heart, God, show me one way in this Mass that I can become a-better-version-of-myself this week! Then listen.”

When God speaks to your heart, write it down in your Mass journal. Then of course reference it and try to implement whatever it is in the coming week. Each week you’ll be one step closer to being the person God calls you to be.

I’m an avid note taker and list maker in every other area of my life, so why not during church? Admittedly I was a little intimidated by the idea at first. Would I look like a weirdo? Would my fellow parishioners think I was doodling instead of paying attention?

All of these questions paled in comparison to another statement Kelly made,

“If you believed God was going to speak to you at Mass, I suspect you would bring pen and paper.”

So true!! You’d think I then immediately started taking notes during Mass, right? The sad truth is I didn’t. Sometimes I’m spiritually lazy and a little forgetful. This is one of those times.

But eventually I implemented the suggestion, and this week will be the 24th week of attending Mass with my journal. It has made such an impact on my Mass experience!

How has it helped me?

  1. It’s easier to pay attention. My mind wanders less because I’m listening more intently to take notes. This is especially useful when we attend a parish that has a priest who is not a native English speaker. If I struggle to understand an accent, I’m inclined to zone out. This pushes me to listen more carefully.
  2. Going back and referencing the notes serves as a great mid-week spiritual refresher. It is so easy to listen to the homily and promptly forget about it when we pull out of the church parking lot. Notes help me reflect on the Mass throughout the week.
  3. I’ve learned a lot about myself. During a particularly rough patch of our infertility journey, I was feeling pretty depressed. One week I heard, “Acknowledge the pain of others” as my 1 Thing from Mass. It opened my eyes to those suffering around me and helped me to be more compassionate and less inwardly focused.

I don’t always clearly hear the “1 Thing” Kelly calls us to ask, but I do always take notes during the readings, gospel, and homily for anything that touches my heart or feels like “wow, that was just what I needed to hear today!”

Do you take notes during church? If not, this Advent (or even this week) I challenge you to try and let me know if it bears fruit in your life.

 

 

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