The Mass is the primary way that we Christians are purposed to worship. It's meant to be a holy time to give to God and to let God speak to us. However... this is holy time can often be overridden with distractions, rumbly stomachs, sleepy eyelids, boring homilies, lazy priests, crying small people, and general temptations that we humans often have to deal with.
How do we combat this? How do we make the Mass sacred for us? Help me pay attention?
One small way that I've found helps me during Mass is to keep a Mass Journal.
What's a Mass Journal?
A Mass Journal is a journal used during Mass to help you pray, take note of what God is trying to tell you, and then continue reflecting on it.
We write things down to listen and to remember. Why should Mass be any different? I take a small 8x4 notebook with me to Mass, and try to write down specific things I want to remember, times I feel a nudge from God, or questions that I might have during the homily. During the next week in prayer, it is very helpful to revisit what I wrote down during Mass. It is an enrichment to my time in prayer. It helps me to be a participant in Mass, rather than a passive observer. It assists in listening to God, and not missing things. It helps unpack something he's trying to say.
It might feel awkward or weird taking a journal into Church, but I think it's a practice that we should make more common. Think about what would happen if all Christian Catholics went into Mass prepared to write down what God was going to say to them in the next hour. How would the church change? And if someone asks you why you have a journal, you've tell them you are trying to pay closer attention to God!
How do I journal at mass?
Make journaling easy, it doesn't have to be overly complicated. If you are looking for a place to start, write down what verse sticks out during the Liturgy of the Word. During Mass, especially during times of waiting, reflect on why that stood out and what our Lord is trying to tell you. I also like to take notes and write down questions during the homily which I can reflect upon later.
Journal in any way that helps you to grow in virtue. I've found that using it as a journal/notetaker is a tool that helps me be active and present during Mass. Instead of passively sitting there, a tool like this helps in a small way to pay attention, keep my mind and heart in the prayers of the Mass, and to able to revisit what Jesus was trying to tell me that Sunday morning.
If you want to get more out of the Mass, start bringing a Mass Journal. If you want a simple modern journal, check out the ones offered in our shop: The Mass Journal But any journal or notebook will do. I would also encourage you to check out the Every Sacred Sunday Journal, which has a much more structured approach to a Mass Journal and prayer journaling.
And If you are reading this post and you aren't Catholic, fear not. Just replace the word "Mass" with "Church" or "Sermon." Bringing a journal to capture the God's tugs on your heart as your pray during your Church service or listen to a pastors sermon is a wonderful way to deepen your prayer life and make your Sundays more sacred.
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