Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Feel Restless in My Faith and with Myself

Deep breath in. 

I've been feeling incredibly restless in my faith and with myself and I know it's due to my lack of Mass attendance and trips to the confessional. 

Exhale.

You guys know that I've been struggling with attending Mass for months. Yes, months. I get a deep desire to go to Mass and confession but something always happens. What I wrote in October still applies. I feel like the worst Catholic... a sorry, pathetic excuse of a Catholic. I felt it particularly hard a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes I wonder if I'm truly cut out to be a faithful Catholic with how often I've missed Mass. I haven't been to Mass since Candlemas, and we arrived late and I was too distracted to enjoy it. During the last full Mass I attended a month ago, I had to keep my snobby and somewhat uncharitable thoughts to myself. 

If you're wondering what happened today: light-headedness, as is the most common reason for my failure to attend Mass. I didn't even pick Mom up from work today and that only happens when I get so lightheaded that I'm afraid of getting into a potential accident. "Well, that's a valid excuse," you may be saying, but it doesn't take away how uneasy I feel. 

The longer I go without attending Mass or confessing my sins, the more restless I get. I feel absolutely horrid as I type this out. I've noticed how bad things get for me the longer I go without both Mass and confession. First, I become less charitable and more grumpy. Then it becomes easier to do the smallest (and, oftentimes, dumbest) venial sins. Then my patience runs out easier. Things built up. My temper gets worse. I literally cannot focus on anything, especially in prayer. I can't focus on my prayers; they feel robotic and empty. After about the second or third week, I'm an edgy mess. Again, the desire is there but then fear sets in.

Fear is what's at the root of my missing Mass. Fear of getting into a car accident because I'm not as mentally focused as I should be. Fear of getting more sick or not being able to get the medical help I need (this is anxiety talking when I have palpitations like I did earlier today). Fear of physical pain. Fear of fainting, especially when I've felt physically weak like I did two weeks ago. Fear of this... fear of that...

I know that fear is not from God. I know that the evil one uses fear. I want to have the courage to push beyond that fear, but I can't. I don't know what stops me. Oh, wait... yes, I do: more fear. Sometimes, when I think I have the courage to actually go through with it -- to get in my car and drive to Mass -- I begin to second-guess my decision. The "what ifs" begin to roll around in my mind. What if I should just stay home and not risk myself and my health? What if I'm just making up excuses for myself because I don't want to go to Mass? (That last one is one that popped up in my mind). 

I've cried more than once out of my inability to attend Mass. In fact, I'm trying to fight that lump in my throat that is threatened to form while I type this post out. I know I need to talk to a priest about this problem, especially since I feel utterly overwhelmed at this point. I don't like how I feel... and when I say "how I feel" I mean how I act. I don't like living in fear. I don't like losing my temper more easily as time goes by. This isn't who I usually am. I've been (jokingly) referred to as a gal with patience to spare. I don't get angry for more than a couple of minutes. I can let things slide... except I can't. Not these days; not since my lack of Mass attendance began to break personal records.

I humbly ask for your prayers. Beyond praying and talking to a priest, I don't know what else to do. I feel helpless. I feel restless. I feel scared. I don't want to put my soul in jeopardy if I can do something about it. 

Okay... here come the tears. That's okay. Tears only remind me that I care. I care about my soul. I care about my relationship with God. Once my time here on earth is done, I want to spend eternity with Him. I can't do that if I don't feel grounded in my faith; if I keep missing Mass.

Deep breath in. 

Exhale. 

God willing, things will work out. I just need help. And, with this idea, I'm going to stop writing and email one of my favorite local priests to see if I can set up a meeting to talk to him or see if he can give me advice as to what I can do in the meantime (while I wait for my next trip to the confessional and Mass).

I'm sorry to end this blog on such a downer but this is real life. This is -- and has been -- my biggest struggle. Nobody said the journey of this Catholic nerd writer was going to be easy or even pretty.

Alright, email to the priest and then I'll try to catch a Mass on EWTN before my evening/nighttime prayers.

I hope y'all have a lovely weekend!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :)

5 comments:

Rachel Lynn said...

I've been struggling with something like this for the past 6 years and especially for the last 4. I don't go to Mass at all now (I never went much before anyways, maybe one year I went 10-12 times.) I'm a convert, and because of my health and not having a way to get to Mass, I've felt so bad and I don't even pray anymore (I've felt it's wrong to do so if I'm not going to Mass or confession) and don't know if I can be called a Catholic. My focus is all on books and writing. (Which I feel I'd have to give up if I were a "real Catholic", do you ever think of anything like that?) Everything may seem fine, most of the time I can ignore it, but being a Catholic meant everything to me and to have it gone, it's bothered me a lot and if I think about it I can end up crying so much too. Talking a bit about it to a priest a couple times hasn't helped me. :/ I hope you will find more help. Interesting blog, I'll have to look around more.

Emmy Cecilia said...

I've very sorry to hear that, Rachel Lynn. I've been blessed to have a priest offer the advice of getting to Mass when I can, even if it's in the week. If you can't one day, you try the next day... and the next day... and so on until you finally make it to a Mass. Have you considered talking to someone about getting the Eucharist taken to you at your home if you're unable to attend Mass? I think most parishes will either send someone (a Eucharistic minister) or a priest will visit you himself. Or, do you have a close neighbor who attends Mass at a local Catholic church that can take you if you're able to physically leave the house? I started watching Masses on EWTN and that's helped tremendously.

Please don't give on prayer. Just because you don't go to confession or Mass doesn't mean God won't hear your prayers. He loves everyone, including those who refuse to believe in Him, so I'm sure He's listening to you since you're unable to attend Mass out of circumstances beyond your control.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about giving up books and writing to be a real Catholic. Can you please explain that?

Also, please consider talking to a different priest or another religious (brother or sister; I've had both help me in the past) if you feel like he hasn't helped you. Not all priests are the right fit for us; I speak from experience.

I will be praying for you. :)

Joseph Wentz said...

I randomly stumbled on this blog today and have been feeling the same way lately: restless after years of not regularly attending mass. I've been trying to make an effort to go, but it just hasn't happened. However, for some reason recently, I began prayer again and also randomly stumbled (again) on immaculate heart radio which actually makes my morning drive in San Diego more bearable.

I'm not sure if/when I will begin going back to mass, but I will pray that you make it back and in good health :).

Joseph Wentz said...

I randomly stumbled on this blog today and have been feeling the same way lately: restless after years of not regularly attending mass. I've been trying to make an effort to go, but it just hasn't happened. However, for some reason recently, I began prayer again and also randomly stumbled (again) on immaculate heart radio which actually makes my morning drive in San Diego more bearable.

I'm not sure if/when I will begin going back to mass, but I will pray that you make it back and in good health :).

Emmy Cecilia said...

Welcome to the blog, Joseph! I'm glad you've started praying again and that listening to Immaculate Heart Radio has also been helpful. I think you're starting on the right path by doing these things. I'm going to pass along the advice a priest gave me last weekend: try to make it to a Sunday Mass and keep aiming for every Mass time until you get to one. If you can't make it on a Sunday, try to go on a Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday (and so on) until you find yourself in a pew. You can also try to catch them on TV even though it's not the same as going in person. The important thing is that you try to build on the momentum you have right now. I will pray that you do return to Mass and rebuild that relationship with God. Thank you for your prayers as well; I greatly appreciate them. :)