Am I being too hard on myself with missing mass?

Question about confession, or actually, about missing mass.

I attended confession last night with the sins of missing mass and then taking the Eucharist when I do make it to mass.
I had my 6 yr son waiting for me in the long confession line so I was distracted.
It had been five months since my last confession.
Priest asked if I missed mass due to my own fault.
I stumbled. I insisted yes, but after consideration, I might have been too hard on myself.

I have a four year old special needs, autistic, son and a regular ol’ six year old.
My husband is not catholic. I attend mass on my own and sometimes bring my six year old. My four year would not last 10 minutes in mass - he has almost no self control and is very LOUD. I can barely take him into a store without a scene. This is normal for him, but others aren’t as appreciative. He has been under somekind of therapy (OT, PT, speech, psych) since he was two. Therefore, the vast majority of shopping, errands, etc, are done without him when one parent is home able to watch him. Half the time a visit to the local swimming pool leads to a fit for one reason or another. He is getting better, but we still have to be cautious when going out. This is beyond temper tantrums - he takes more time then others to settle down, reason or communicate effectively. I have not and will not bring him to mass until he has the skills to do so.

Anyways. The reason I miss mass is because my husband is out of town - I cannot take my kids so I don’t go (watch on EWTN), Or husband is not feeling well, or had a hard night, other plans, etc. Basically, if my husband doesn’t want to/or can’t (which I determine because he is a sweet guy and wouldn’t refuse) watch my youngest I don’t go to mass. Sometimes, my son is in one of his ‘moods’ and can’t bring myself to leave my husband with him, especially if I am tired or ill. He responds best with me. I love mass - I would go everyday, if I could, but God understands my family dynamic.

I have already confessed missing mass during my confession last night and been absolved, but because of distractions (my son waiting for me, past his bedtime, after cub scout meeting) I didn’t get into all the above in as much detail.

I just want to know if I should ease up a bit and not confess as a mortal sin missing mass because of family’s peculiarities in the future.

Relax. The only thing you are guilty of is worrying too much. I firmly
believe that there is a special place in heaven reserved for people who
go through what you do.

No, it is absolutely not a sin to miss Mass under these circumstances. I was wondering if there was someone who could bring you Communion at home. It would give you great strength.

God bless you and stop worrying.

No. You have NOT sinned.

Missing Mass is NOT a sin if you are needed to care for someone else during that same timeframe that Mass is being offered.

Bottom line –

Mortal sin always requires not only grave matter and knowledge – but consent of the will

Clearly, you are not freely choosing to miss Mass for any reason other than caring for someone else who needs your presence.

You can certainly make a “spiritual Communion.” Here’s a few ways to do it. Each one is equally valid.

It is commendable that you are trying the best you can to attend Mass. Please be gentle on yourself. Jesus certainly knows what’s in your heart.

Meanwhile, we’re all praying for you and the rest of your family. You are definitely practicing your Faith as best you can. Your children and husband see this… and they understand this at the best level that they each can.


[In all these instances, we are encouraged to make what is known as a "spiritual Communion," an act expressing what was described by St. Thomas Aquinas as "an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and in lovingly embracing Him." In a spiritual Communion, we, with contrite, humble hearts, ask our Lord to come to us in the same way He would if we were able to receive the Sacrament. This can be done as often as one likes, informally in one's own words or through one of the traditional prayers which appear below.

What is the value of this practice? The graces received may be as great as -- or greater than -- those received by some people in the actual Sacrament. Though, of course, the Sacrament itself is inherently greater, our disposition toward the Sacrament affect whether and how we receive its fruits. ]("") 

**How to Receive Spiritual Communion **

St. Leonard of Port-Maurice offers this advice for receiving Spiritual Communion: 

In order to facilitate a practice of such great excellence, ponder what I have to say. When the priest is about to give himself Communion in holy Mass, do you, keeping composed externally and internally, excite in your heart an act of true contrition, and humbly striking your breast, in token that you acknowledge yourself unworthy of so great a grace, make all those acts of love, of self-surrender, of humility, and the rest, which you are accustomed to make when you communicate sacramentally, and then desire with a lively longing to receive your good Jesus, veiled in the sacrament for your benefit. And to kindle your devotion, imagine that most holy Mary, or some saint, your holy advocate, is holding forth to you the sacred particle; figure yourself receiving it, and then, embracing Jesus in your heart, reply to Him, over and over again, with interior words prompted by love: “Come, Jesus, my Beloved, come within this my poor heart; come and satiate my desires; come and sanctify my soul; come, most sweet Jesus, come!” This said, be still; contemplate your good God within you, and, as if you really had communicated, adore Him, thank Him, and perform all those interior acts to which you are accustomed after sacramental Communion. 


**Act of Spiritual Communion **
by St. Alphonsus Liguori (A.D. 1696-1787) 

My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee. 


**Act of Spiritual Communion **

O Immaculate Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mother of God and Mediatrix of every grace: I believe that Thy dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, is truly, really, and substantially contained in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love Him above all things and I long to receive Him into my heart. Since I cannot now receive Him sacramentally, be so good as to place Him spiritually in my soul. 

O my Jesus, I embrace Thee as One who has already come, and I unite myself entirely to Thee. Never permit me to be separated from Thee. Amen. 


**Act of Spiritual Communion **

As I cannot this day enjoy the happiness of assisting at the holy Mysteries, O my God! I transport myself in spirit at the foot of Thine altar; I unite with the Church, which by the hands of the priest, offers Thee Thine adorable Son in the Holy Sacrifice; I offer myself with Him, by Him, and in His Name. I adore, I praise, and thank Thee, imploring Thy mercy, invoking Thine assistance, and presenting Thee the homage I owe Thee as my Creator, the love due to Thee as my Savior. 

Apply to my soul, I beseech Thee, O merciful Jesus, Thine infinite merits; apply them also to those for whom I particularly wish to pray. I desire to communicate spiritually, that Thy Blood may purify, Thy Flesh strengthen, and Thy Spirit sanctify me. May I never forget that Thou, my divine Redeemer, hast died for me; may I die to all that is not Thee, that hereafter I may live eternally with Thee. Amen.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

2180 “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.
The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.
Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

To follow on this, Canon law considers a child from birth until age 7 to be an infant (that is a regular ole’ 7 year old, considered the age of reason. For special needs children they may not be considered of the age of reason until much older - your Priest will help you as your special needs son reachis this age to determine when he is old enough to go to Confession.)

Do reach out to your Parish family. You will be surprised to find that there are other families in similar situations, or people who just have a heart to help, who will pitch in and assist you in caring for your child during Mass when you want to go!

Thanks to you all for your kind words. Some brought me to tears!

It is hard, Sundays, especially. It is hard shaking the guilt.
One Sunday I missed went like this.
Tired, turned off alarm (miss 7:30 mass)
Sunday morning son has a fit (miss 9:00 mass)
Kids hungry do early lunch (miss 11a mass). Figure I’ll make the 5pm mass. *
Sunday afternoon, took kids swimming. Good day.
Too tired/too rushed (shower, change, etc) to go to 5pm mass.
I figure I missed mass this Sunday deliberately.
I only “justify” it because the kids eat dinner at 6pm (wouldn’t be home from mass yet if went to 5p) and Sunday is pizza night (hubby leaves to get pizza at 5:30 - I need to be home).
So…we have a routine for Sunday nights, but I should have gone to mass. I am always relieved that Son has a fit or something during the 5-6p timeframe to make skipping mass legit.
At least, that’s my thinking and the reason for my guilt. My sweet hubby says, God understands.

I try to make it to the 7:30 mass so most of the house is sleeping in while I am away and bring donuts home by 9. But if I am tired, etc., I hit the alarm and go back to bed leading to guilt later in the day. I miss mass about once a month so this isn’t the norm. And I need Jesus so I partake, selfishly, because I need/want the peace the Eucharist brings to my soul - even when I feel I am taking unworthily.

thanks for the post about the infant being up to 7 years old. that eases my mind alot because I was thinking infant meaning under 2.

I do go to the Blessed Sacrament chapel by my mom’s nursing home when I visit her to spend some time with Jesus (usually two times a month). I feel less guilty for missing him in the mass this way. Plus, I need his strength for when i visit my mom (late stage-alzheimers)

thanks for listening.I have only been Catholic for 9 months now so I am still trying to feel my way around.

God Bless*

Some of the conditions normally cited for missing Mass and it NOT being your fault are if you are physically unable to get to Mass–ie no transportation, bad storm; if you are sick; or if you are the caregiver of a sick person. I think your situation falls under the last broad category. Your son has needs much beyond the nomal 4 yo and you are his caregiver.

The only thing I would consider in the future is if each time you determine your dh can’t/won’t watch your son, if you are letting him and you off easy? Also, consider that your 6yo will be starting his sacramental years for First Confession and First Holy Communion soon. You will want to be sure to get him to Mass as often as possible (Sundays) during that year and then after.

I will be praying for you! I hope the therapies help your son, and that he learns to cope better as he gets older. :getholy:

How about pushing supper back to 6:30 on Sunday? Let dad hang with special needs son while you and other son go to Mass.

Well, I won’t be hard on myself today :slight_smile:

My DS6 had an episode with his asthma late this week and is still on nubulizer treatments - so no going outside (allegery trigger) until is clears up.
My DS4, special needs, has a stomach illness yesterday (read - 2 loads of laundry last night) so he’s not going anywhere either.

And, thus, neither am I :slight_smile: I will watch Mass on Ewtn and offer it up.

Thanks again to all who responded. I feel a better about the situation.

So sorry they are both under the weather! I’ll be praying for you.

We’ve started going to a 4:00 p.m. Mass on Sundays and love it! It is so relaxed. My advice is try the later Mass.:thumbsup:

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