Concern for a friend... "too" frequent confession and adoration?


#1

I have a friend who was raised Catholic but had a rough childhood and only recently has truly embraced her Catholic Faith and come fully to the Church (from a moral standpoint). But I'm beginning to be concerned that she is becoming too scrupulous.

She is a young, beautiful single woman and admittedly is unsure about whether God is calling her to marriage or to the religious life. I believe, she prefers the idea of marriage but is trying to be open to God's call.

In any case, in the past 1-2 months, she's begun attending adoration daily and going to confession twice a week. When she first told me this, in my head all I could think is: goodness, my prayer life is terrible compared to her!

But the more she and I have talked, the more I'm worried about her reasons for going. She doesn't go into depth about her confessions or anything (she shouldn't have to) but I simply have to wonder what compels her to do both of these things so often.

Please don't get me wrong... I understand very well the merits of adoring our Lord and receiving the Sacrament of Confession. I know that the Pope goes to confession daily. But... she's not the Pope. She's a young single woman who, spends more hours per week in church than with friends or family.

Our parish priest finally approached her about a week ago and asked her if she's considered the religious life. She was a little shocked to hear this from him and told him that she's not sure but that her frequent prayer and confessions are what "we're all called to do" and shouldn't mean that she's meant to be a nun.

I wasn't there so I don't know how our priest responded, but I tend to disagree. Not that sometimes going to adoration and confession frequently isn't a good idea... but she seems to think that this is what every Catholic should do. Perhaps this is just my own feelings of guilt at not doing what she is doing but I guess I feel like, I have a life... yes, I go to Adoration weekly (and Mass weekly, of course) and I probably should go to Confession more often than I do, but I have friends and family obligations that simply don't allow me time to spend 8-10 hours/week in Church. If she isn't called to the religious life... she's sure not acting like it.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'm just truly concerned that rather than using her prayer time before our Lord and attending confession because it's what she needs spiritually, she's somehow convinced herself that it's the right way to be a good Catholic. And I'm also worried that she's hiding from something in the real world. She stresses about having "so much to do" but spends so much time in Church.

I guess I'm just asking... am I out of line for worrying about her? I tried to talk to her about it recently and she became very defensive and I'm regretting even bringing it up... help.


#2

[quote="mysticalrose112, post:1, topic:296434"]

I guess I'm just asking... am I out of line for worrying about her? I tried to talk to her about it recently and she became very defensive and I'm regretting even bringing it up... help.

[/quote]

Short answer -- yes.

Obviously, we are not all called to this level of involvement. But if she is, and she has answered "yes," that's a beautiful thing. And she's absolutely right that this does not necessarily mean she has a vocation to the religious life.

Look around you -- this world needs more prayer, not less. I say, God bless her.


#3

[quote="mysticalrose112, post:1, topic:296434"]

I guess I'm just asking... am I out of line for worrying about her? I tried to talk to her about it recently and she became very defensive and I'm regretting even bringing it up... help.

[/quote]

Possibly.

When you discuss this with her, are you doing it with the intention of keeping her away from a possible calling? Or, is it out of true concern she may be obsessed with adoration and confession?

What you consider true concern, may come across as being judgmental, or appear that you have an agenda. Be very careful how you approach this situation.


#4

Be not afraid!

Rejoice and be glad!

peace


#5

Does she has a deep pervading sense of guilt? Does she spend these hours crying, begging for forgiveness, seeming to feel cut off or alienated from God and needing to "win His approval"? Those are more the signs of scrupulosity (which I suffer with by the way) than someone who spends a lot of time in prayer.

God may be calling her to spend time this way to help save the world or souls in purgatory. If a priest approached her, she may very well have a call on her life. Priests do not do that lightly. They know that even asking someone that question can cause a radical change in how that person sees their life. If he felt it important to ask, pray for her. She may be wrestling with a call to the religious life. There's no problem with being "in love" with your faith. We all have periods of deep immersion and then maybe not so much. If a priest asked her, I think there could be something there.

Lorrie


#6

I know many regular lay people who go to Adoration daily. It is what helps them get all the stuff they are busy with - work, family, etc - done. I also know a few who go to confession weekly (not twice a week). So given that I don't think your friend is totally out of line. The priest's questions are normal too given that she is not married.

I wouldn't press her about it anymore. You've expressed your concern, but what she is doing isnt obsessive or crazy. The priest, as her confessor, will give her the advice she needs if he feels she is being scrupulous. Just use her zeal as a means to help you step up your own prayer life. :D


#7

I have a friend who was raised Catholic but had a rough childhood and only recently has truly embraced her Catholic Faith and come fully to the Church (from a moral standpoint).

This is a very typical response when a person experiences a deep conversion from a sinful life. God, in His awesome mercy, draws the soul to Himself, puts honey on His breast (so to speak) to help the person develop solid convictions and grow in closer union with Him. We find this in the Song of Songs, Chapter 1:4 where the Bride speaks, "Draw me, and we will run after thee to the odor of thy ointments!" However, as many of us know, the honeymoon does not last indefinitely, lest we develop spiritual gluttony at the wonderful consolation of being drawn to Him.

When I first converted, I went to confession weekly, and sometimes I traveled to a downtown monastery in Detroit where confessions were heard daily, if I needed it. There is a horror of offending God and not being united with Him. As spirituality develops and the person becomes stronger to avoid sin, the frequency of confession tapers off to monthly.

Who knows whether God may be calling her to a special vocation? Encourage her to stay close to God and discover his path for her life.


#8

[quote="mysticalrose112, post:1, topic:296434"]

She is a young, beautiful single woman and admittedly is unsure about whether God is calling her to marriage or to the religious life. I believe, she prefers the idea of marriage but is trying to be open to God's call.

In any case, in the past 1-2 months, she's begun attending adoration daily and going to confession twice a week. When she first told me this, in my head all I could think is: goodness, my prayer life is terrible compared to her!

But the more she and I have talked, the more I'm worried about her reasons for going. She doesn't go into depth about her confessions or anything (she shouldn't have to) but I simply have to wonder what compels her to do both of these things so often.

Please don't get me wrong... I understand very well the merits of adoring our Lord and receiving the Sacrament of Confession. I know that the Pope goes to confession daily. But... she's not the Pope. She's a young single woman who, spends more hours per week in church than with friends or family.

Our parish priest finally approached her about a week ago and asked her if she's considered the religious life. She was a little shocked to hear this from him and told him that she's not sure but that her frequent prayer and confessions are what "we're all called to do" and shouldn't mean that she's meant to be a nun.

I wasn't there so I don't know how our priest responded, but I tend to disagree. Not that sometimes going to adoration and confession frequently isn't a good idea... but she seems to think that this is what every Catholic should do. Perhaps this is just my own feelings of guilt at not doing what she is doing but I guess I feel like, I have a life... yes, I go to Adoration weekly (and Mass weekly, of course) and I probably should go to Confession more often than I do, but I have friends and family obligations that simply don't allow me time to spend 8-10 hours/week in Church. If she isn't called to the religious life... she's sure not acting like it.

I guess I'm just asking... am I out of line for worrying about her? I tried to talk to her about it recently and she became very defensive and I'm regretting even bringing it up... help.

[/quote]

It sounds like your friend is discerning God's will for her and perhaps she hears Him better when she is in His Presence in Adoration. Like you said you have other obligations and she is single so she has the freedom to do this.

When I went through my second conversion, I found myself seeking God in the places I normally never seeked Him; Adoration, Daily Mass, Bible Studies, Healing Masses, Prayer Services, Confession more times in a six month period than my entire life combined. It actually saved my marriage. Now I pray and ask you to as well to pray for my spouse's conversion and to be led with a contrite heart not only to the confessional but to desire a deeper relationship with God.

But, I was called out by a friend who told me my prayer life had become "excessive". Which really hurt my feelings and my response was, "Well, what exactly is excessive to God?" and "I'd rather be addicted to God than to say drugs, alcohol, pornography or adultery." I wasn't increasing my prayer life to make others uncomfortable or to show people what they were lacking in their own. Most of the time, no one even knew I was at Daily Mass or at Confession. I would just spur of the moment go.

I think if your friend is truly happy and not being overly critical of others in her devotion to God, than let her be; but pray for her that God will reveal Himself to her and she will have a clear understanding of what God is calling her to do. We should try not to fall into the temptation of judging or comparing our different ways of worshipping God.

Perhaps you could lead your friend to asking her priest if he knows someone who could be her spiritual director as she is discerning God's willl for her.

Peace 2 U and your friend.


#9

[quote="Sirach2, post:7, topic:296434"]
This is a very typical response when a person experiences a deep conversion from a sinful life. We find this in the Song of Songs, Chapter 1:4 where the Bride speaks, "Draw me, and we will run after thee to the odor of thy ointments!" However, as many of us know, the honeymoon does not last indefinitely, lest we develop spiritual gluttony at the wonderful consolation of being drawn to Him.

When I first converted, I went to confession weekly, and sometimes I traveled to a downtown monastery in Detroit where confessions were heard daily, if I needed it. There is a horror of offending God and not being united with Him. As spirituality develops and the person becomes stronger to avoid sin, the frequency of confession tapers off to monthly.

Who knows whether God may be calling her to a special vocation? Encourage her to stay close to God and discover his path for her life.

[/quote]

Very nice post and good advice for everyone even if not going thru a dramatic conversion; much nicer to tell her friend to stay close to God than like in my case being told I was being excessive.

Thank you.


#10

I dont mean to be rude but this is none of your business, have you ever thought your friend is struggling with a sin that she needs frequent confession, adoration etc, my advice stop interfering and focus more on your own prayer life


#11

If she is following what she truly believes to be God calling her to do these things, even if she isn’t considering religious life, it’s okay.

Even if her intent is of the scrupulous nature, God can work with that. He is bigger than our weaknesses. For example, if you had a child, and you adored that child, and the child had “rebelled” and gone away for a while, and then, they started coming back and visiting you every day, maybe a little out of guilt, maybe a little out of obligation, even if you knew that this was not out of a perfected love, wouldn’t you be happy that they were still coming every day to see you. With grace, eventually, the relationship would start to heal and become free. The child would come out of love for the parent rather than obligation or guilt. But as with anything, temptation can lead us astray and we could think, (arrogance) “we are so good, we are being a good child by going to visit everyday,” or (anxiety) “if I don’t go every day, my parent will be angry with me.”

But God is always trying to get us back on track.

So pray for your friend if you think she is not going for the “right” reasons. But don’t discourage her from going.


#12

I go to Adoration everyday and Confession twice a week too. (Well not twice EVERY week but I could, and have before). But we're all kinda different.
For my sister, frequent confession turned out to be not a great thing; she told me it made her lazy in trying to do the right thing because she could always "just confess tomorrow anyways". Her priest told her NOT to go more than once a month anymore, and it has really helped her.
The Devil is always trying to manipulate the good things you do and distort them in any way he can, we all have to be on top of our Faith, and make sure we're doing the right things. I don't think that you're out of line in being concerned, but I think you should do more listening than judging for now.
For me, I spend almost 10 hours a day at school, and I need that 1 hour with Jesus (in the Adoration chapel where I hear him best) to remind myself why I do it all. My mom cannot go to Adoration everyday and frequent confession, she has four children and a husband to look after. I have school, my family, and God, and I'm at a point in my life where I have a lot of free time, and a car, and easy access, it's open 24 hours a day, and frankly I feel as if there's no excuse for me not to go, but the truth is, there's no other place I'd rather be...
As long as I am serving Jesus in my family that way He intended me to, in my education with the talents He intended me to use, I think I'm doing the right thing. You're right if one spends so much time in church that he or she neglects God somewhere else, like in the family, then that is displeasing to God. But maybe that's not the case with her, and if it is, she'll figure it out, and you can pray that she does.
Sometimes my mom is concerned with me too, because since the Adoration Chapel is open 24 hrs, if I have to go late, I go anyways. During the summer it's always easier to go than during school. I think it's nice that you're concerned for your friend, and you're right, there could definitely be something wrong (like what happened to my sister) but it could also just be alright.
PS. When I heard God calling me to the religious life, I never thought it had anything to do with how often I was praying, I didn't make the connection in my head until later, I thought the same way as your friend: shouldn't we all be doing this if we're able to?


#13

[quote="Sirach2, post:7, topic:296434"]
This is a very typical response when a person experiences a deep conversion from a sinful life. God, in His awesome mercy, draws the soul to Himself, puts honey on His breast (so to speak) to help the person develop solid convictions and grow in closer union with Him. We find this in the Song of Songs, Chapter 1:4 where the Bride speaks, "Draw me, and we will run after thee to the odor of thy ointments!" However, as many of us know, the honeymoon does not last indefinitely, lest we develop spiritual gluttony at the wonderful consolation of being drawn to Him.

When I first converted, I went to confession weekly, and sometimes I traveled to a downtown monastery in Detroit where confessions were heard daily, if I needed it. There is a horror of offending God and not being united with Him. As spirituality develops and the person becomes stronger to avoid sin, the frequency of confession tapers off to monthly.

Who knows whether God may be calling her to a special vocation? Encourage her to stay close to God and discover his path for her life.

[/quote]

This is a beautiful explanation, I really like this response. I felt that same thing when I returned to the Church a year ago. Thanks for your wonderful explanation.


#14

My mother left the Church when I was very young, and when I returned as an adult withe two small children, I really regretted the time I was away from the Church, because when I was single, I could have done so much more of everything.

So I think it is great that your friend is using this time so wisely. If there are no signs of an issue, then this may be what she is called to do now for this period in her life. Later, she may find she is called to be married and then it may well be hard for her to do what she is doing now, but then her vocation will be different.

OTOH, God may be preparing her for a religious vocation.


#15

A dear friend, when he returned to the church after years of being away, went to confession DAILY for his first month. I believe he still goes once a week, 15 years later. He is not scrupulous and has a very balanced life. I do not know why he went daily. I just know that this return was very powerful for him.

And many of my friends attend daily Mass and spend time with Jesus in the Sanctuary frequently, some probably daily. They are my greatest treasure of friends, because they have such peace, joy, patience...

I depend on them when I need prayer for myself or someone else because I know that they recognize the power of prayer and God's presence with us.


#16

Some thoughts: We spend time with the one we love. Love is a decision, and she has clearly made her decision as to Whom she will love most. Our lives remain disordered if we love anything more than God. Yet, love is not confined to a cognitive or emotional state; it is also revealed in our actions. Is she not fulfilling Jesus' call - even command - to love God with all of her heart, with all of her soul, with all of her mind and all of her strength? I think that what you are seeing is a pure, unadulterated form of holiness. She exists in this world, but is not of this world. She is living the Gospel call.

As to scrupulosity, if she begins to express hatred of herself, or disgust with things that are clearly not sin, then I would be concerned. Bishop Sheen described hearing the confessions of religious sisters as akin to "being stoned to death with popcorn." And, this may be exactly what Father is hearing in her confessions. In reading the lives of the Saints, I see that she is demonstrating a passion for holiness that many Saints also exhibited in their lives.

What you are seeing is a part of her discernment process - a process that, at times, can be agonizing and heart-wrenching. She needs your support. Rather than worrying about her, consider spending an hour beside her in prayer for her. You might just be amazed at the experience.

Holiness stands out, as Father has noticed.


#17

Don’t worry. Pray for yourself and your friend. I agree with those who said this is not uncommon when someone starts to take their faith seriously or has a conversion. It’s a good thing, imho.


#18

[quote="LemmeThink4aSec, post:12, topic:296434"]

For my sister, frequent confession turned out to be not a great thing; she told me it made her lazy in trying to do the right thing because she could always "just confess tomorrow anyways".

[/quote]

Thank you for everyone's thoughtful responses.

Regarding the quote above, I mention it because my friend does this, many times, each time we hang out... she'll curse and then say "oh, now I'm going to have to confess that" or she'll start a story by saying: "I shouldn't tell you this... I'm going to have to confess it later..." (I encourage her to please not tell me something that breaks a confidence, etc.) To me, she IS using confession and her prayer life as an excuse in many instances.

Anyway... I do agree (and stated in my first post) that I know there are very good things about daily adoration and frequent confession. She does not come across as crying, wearing feelings of guilt on her sleeve, etc., but she does make comments about how it's "what we're all called to do." Maybe, again, I'm just feeling guilty for not being as "devout" as she is... but that statement is simply untrue. We're not required to go to confession that much or attend daily adoration. She seems to think we are.

And for someone who says she would rather be married, she doesn't socialize often with other people. I'm not so much concerned about her amount of time in Church as opposed to what should be healthy for a young single girl looking for a spouse. She doesn't put herself out there. And before anyone says it, no, I'm not in anyway suggesting that she should be out downtown clubbing or doing anything else that is not morally acceptable.

Anyway, I'm not planning on bringing it up with her again (unless she wants to talk about it) but I just wanted to get some feedback from others. Thanks everyone.


#19

It sounds to me like she is experiencing a deep enthusiasm for her newly-rediscovered faith.

I think as long as she isn't neglecting her other duties in life, be supportive, while also reminding her that not everyone is called to the same level of devotion that she is, right now - and also that she might find over time that while this is what God is calling her to right now, it isn't necessarily something that she's going to be called to for the rest of her life. It may simply be that God is using these experiences to lay a foundation in her for times in the future when she has less opportunity or less energy to do all these things - for example, when she is a busy wife and mother, she may well look back on these times with fondness, and she'll be glad she spent so much time with the Lord when she had the freedom to do so. :)


#20

[quote="mysticalrose112, post:1, topic:296434"]

I guess I'm just asking... am I out of line for worrying about her? I tried to talk to her about it recently and she became very defensive and I'm regretting even bringing it up... help.

[/quote]

Don't take this the wrong way. Is there any chance you might be feeling a bit spiritually envious or might you be missing her company some?


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