When I first moved to NH and joined a new parish, the parish where I currently reside, I noticed they did not have missalettes in the pews. Hm. This was disappointing. I love those books! I was told by a parishioner that the priest at the time wanted the congregation to sit back and LISTEN to the readings and absorb it that way. He believed this was the best way to hear the Word of God. Hm. Well, I disagreed. Listening was just not the best way for me to grasp anything. Don’t get me wrong, I like to listen … but there was more that needed to be done in order for me to enjoy and understand mass.
I had always liked to read a long with not only the readings but the whole mass. As a book lover, I always loved picking up the missalette at the beginning of mass and thumbing through to find the days readings, then following along with the rest of the mass. As you know, I am VISUAL and need to SEE IT, whatever IT is… If I am told to just sit there and listen I will listen for a bit and then, sorry, I will float off into lala land… (oh look a butterfly!) I just can’t stay focused on the readings if I am not anchored by the sight of the words in front of me.
Back in the day… when I went to school (1970-80s) teachers taught, for the most part, by lecturing…. and you listened and absorbed the lesson or you fell asleep … for me many times the latter. And I always wondered why I was so stupid (I wasn’t) and didn’t always do well on tests and quizzes. That monotonous Charlie Brown teacher voice just didn’t do it for me and, I suppose, for most of the children.
Well, as a special ed teacher I now know differently. Now that we know about learning styles teachers are (finally) being creative and trying differentiated instruction… finding new creative ways to teach to all the learning styles. For those who don’t know, the major learning styles are: auditory, visual and kinesthetic (tactile). Wish they knew about this back in my day. The only time we did hands-on activities was during labs in science. And we almost never saw movies or visuals… that was a treat. And I wish I knew my learning style back then…
Like I always say, I am a visual learner. I need visuals and such to help me SEE the whole picture. Though I say this … a couple of years ago I took a learning style quiz and I found out that though I am mostly a visual learner I am also auditory and Kinesthetic too. Meaning… I have to hear it, see it and then do it. So for instance: if you want me to learn how to do something: tell me how to do it, show me how to do it and then have me practice: make me do it (if at all possible).
So back to the missalette problem… well I needed to see the words! I did. I couldn’t live without the words in front of me… So I wound up buying either “Word Among US” or “The Magnificat” so that I could read along with mass. Since then my church acquired the ‘blue books’ in the pews, which has not just the hymns but the readings too. Yay finally. I still bring my Magnificat along with me. (I love my little paperback Magnificat). So I am able to listen while I read … and I am happy.
But wait. There’s the “do” aspect~ the tactile kinesthetic learner that needs to be appeased. Yes as Catholics we do do (yes I said do do haha) what I call “Catholic calisthenics” during mass … sit, stand, kneel… sit stand kneel…sitstandkneel …. And genuflect, sign of the cross, raise hands (there’s a name for that), sign of peace, hold hands, sing, respond, pray…ETC… but besides the typical things we do at mass shouldn’t we also “DO” when we leave mass?… isn’t that what the priest says at the end of mass? “The mass has ended, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” He asks us to DO. To be Kinesthetic Catholics.
And yet… this is something many Catholics forget … or, the horror, don’t know that they should be doing. They think being a Christian is just a once a week thing. Go to church, be a warm body in the pew, go home and you are good for the week. That is all that is expected of you… Hm. No. no no no no no nooooo …
As a Franciscan I have learned we are supposed to go from gospel to life, and life to the gospel… meaning… Hear the gospel and LIVE the gospel. Preach the gospel with your actions (if necessary use words). DO. Being a Christian is about DOING for others. LOVING. It’s a verb. It is movement. (It is a movement!)… We need to BE Christ to others…. Do His work. Be his hands and feet….
So listen… read along… and… don’t forget…
BE a Kinesthetic Catholic!