Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Notes on Mass

I am not much of a note taker.  How I made it through college, I'll never know.  Maybe that's why I started in 1992 and finished in 2005.   Training sessions at work are the worst.   They will give you all this paper so that you can refer back to it at a later time.  I hate to tell them that I won't.  I will be polite and not throw it away on my way out the door.  After all, I am grateful for the paper to doodle on during their lecture.  But I'll be honest.  It will end up in the floor of my car,  get stepped on and muddied.  And about six months down the road, I'll clean out the car and throw said paper into the recycling bin.  I'm just not the type of person to take notes and definitely not the type of person to take those notes and store them in some place to refer back to at a later time.

An interesting thing has happened though.   In September, 2010, I attended a Cursillio weekend.  During the sessions of the Cursillio they have you take notes and then you go over your notes with the other people at your table and discuss the session with them.  I still have my notes.  It's been several months since I've looked at them but I truly treasure them because there are some good nuggets of wisdom in there. 

A couple of weeks ago, when I went to the National Catholic Youth Conference, I took a friend's advice, and took a notebook with me and took notes during the key note speeches and break out sessions.  The kids looked at me like I was a total nerd.  Granted, they normally look at me like I'm a total nerd, but this was on a whole new level.   In the last couple of weeks, I'm really glad I did.  I've looked back at the notes and recalled what was said.

In his talk, "The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality" the Catholic author, Matthew Kelly recommends taking one item from a weekend homily on something that they took from the homily that will help them become the best person that they can be and recording in a journal.  He says that after a year you will have a very powerful book on spirituality.  He knows human nature well enough to realize that most people will buy a journal, take his advice for one Sunday and then put the journal in a "safe place" and forget all about it.

So, I've been thinking.  Since I've discovered that I enjoy taking notes over spiritual discussions--it helps me focus and recall the information later on, would it be disrespectful or sacrilegious to take a notepad into mass with me and take notes while father is giving his homily?  After all, mass isn't a  revival or a lecture.  It is something higher than that.  It is sacred.  At the same time, if it helps me retain what father is preaching and helps me take some his sermon outside of the mass is it a bad thing.  I'll be honest with you, I don't know.  I do know that 95% I don't recall what the homily was about after mass, much less the next day.

What do you think?  Have you tried this?  Do you think to do so would be wrong?  Why?


  1. I have a habit of keeping a small notebook in my pocket anyway. When a point is mentioned in a homily that I would like to ponder further, I do note it.

    I don't make a big deal out of it - I just slip out the pen and notebook, make my note(s), and put them back in my pocket.

    (There is a quote, source unknown, that seems to apply here: “The main trouble with mental notes is the ink fades so fast.”)

  2. At my children's Catholic School, after reading Matthew Kelly's "Rediscover Catholicism", the pastor gave each of the Middle School Students a "Mass Journal" and encourages each of them to do just what Matthew suggests. He even had the parish buy the book, "Rediscover Catholicism" for each member of the parish, and each family at the school. (It's a great book, by the way.)
    I have since started this practice myself and find that it helps me to focus more on Jesus and His will for me during the Mass. Another bonus is that it has encouraged my 6 year old son to pay more attention during Mass and he now wants a Mass Journal for himself.
    I think that as long as it's done in a quiet, respectful manner, there is nothing sacreligious about it. One of the things to keep in mind is that Matthew encourages us to write down only one thought, not pages and pages of notes. So, like Tom said above, you can easily slip it out, make note(s) and put it away.

  3. Mass journal!! What a great idea. What great timing to read this.