Convincing spouse of the importance of Sunday Mass


#1

Hi all,

I got married just over a month ago, and my husband and I had not lived in the same city for 3 years. We lived very far away from each other and though we spoke on the phone nearly every day, we previously only saw and spent time together for a few days every other month or so. We met in college at our campus Catholic Center and it always seemed like that was what brought us together.

Now, suddenly, my husband is saying he doesn't like living with all these "rules" of Catholicism and doesn't see the importance of Sunday Mass. He explained that his definition of what makes a good person has changed, and so he doesn't think not going to mass makes him less of a good person, and going to mass doesn't make him any better.

I was totally shocked and didn't really know what to say, so unfortunately I let the moment pass without much of a rebuttal. I've been trying to sort out my thoughts before I address the situation again. I know that I should mention the importance of the Eucharist in leading us to a more Christ-like state (or to help mold us into better people) but I know I need more and I'm not quite sure where to start. I'm concerned that by not spending time together consistently for 3 years, I missed that he was feeling this way, which makes me concerned for future issues.

Does anyone have any advice? Prayers at the least would be appreciated.

Thank you!
-Violet


#2

[quote="VioletLove, post:1, topic:327345"]
Hi all,

I got married just over a month ago, and my husband and I had not lived in the same city for 3 years. We lived very far away from each other and though we spoke on the phone nearly every day, we previously only saw and spent time together for a few days every other month or so. We met in college at our campus Catholic Center and it always seemed like that was what brought us together.

Now, suddenly, my husband is saying he doesn't like living with all these "rules" of Catholicism and doesn't see the importance of Sunday Mass. He explained that his definition of what makes a good person has changed, and so he doesn't think not going to mass makes him less of a good person, and going to mass doesn't make him any better.

I was totally shocked and didn't really know what to say, so unfortunately I let the moment pass without much of a rebuttal. I've been trying to sort out my thoughts before I address the situation again. I know that I should mention the importance of the Eucharist in leading us to a more Christ-like state (or to help mold us into better people) but I know I need more and I'm not quite sure where to start. I'm concerned that by not spending time together consistently for 3 years, I missed that he was feeling this way, which makes me concerned for future issues.

Does anyone have any advice? Prayers at the least would be appreciated.

Thank you!
-Violet

[/quote]

either you were deceived, or are deceived, so, spend a couple of days in prayer until you hear from the Holy spirit

you need a RHEMA word from God.. if you don't know how-- then it's a good time to start--

but there is always -- years of marriage counseling as an option


#3

[quote="VioletLove, post:1, topic:327345"]
. We met in college at our campus Catholic Center and it always seemed like that was what brought us together.
.
.
.
Now, suddenly, my husband is saying he doesn't like living with all these "rules" of Catholicism and doesn't see the importance of Sunday Mass. He explained that his definition of what makes a good person has changed, and so he doesn't think not going to mass makes him less of a good person, and going to mass doesn't make him any better.
.
.
.
I was totally shocked and didn't really know what to say, so unfortunately I let the moment pass without much of a rebuttal. I'm concerned that by not spending time together consistently for 3 years, I missed that he was feeling this way, which makes me concerned for future issues.
.
.
.
Does anyone have any advice? Prayers at the least would be appreciated.

[/quote]

First of all, prayers for your situation.

I think you two need to address the points I've copied.

You were under the impression that his Catholic Faith was an important part of who he was. That was who you thought you were marrying. That was part of why you thought he was "the good man" for you. You said "Yes"/"I do"/"I will" to a man who would be a **Catholic **husband and father.

Your admiration for him was largely because he was Catholic.

If he doesn't intend to keep his promises to you then you deserve to know why he made them in the first place. Did he think that none of that mattered to you? You have reason to feel disrespected. If he doesn't understand that you care about what he believes and does then that is evidence that he doesn't know who you are.

I have no idea how serious a problem this is. Sometimes people get "tired" and their Faith waivers because of it. Sometimes the problem is deeper. But it would be good to figure it out soon.


#4

You face a very difficult and critical situation. Is there anyone who is a knowledgeable, faithful Catholic whom your husband respects that the both of you could talk to? You might also try listening to some Catholic Answers podcasts together in the evenings, or perhaps something on "why be Catholic" from Tim Staples.


#5

Violet,
Today is the feast of St. Rita of Cascia. She was a loving wife who prayed for years for her husband. She would be a great saint to petition.

catholicexchange.com/st-rita-of-cascia-widow-2/


#6

As a Father of Mercy said (paraphrasing)...Going to Mass even when we can't or don't receive Holy Communion is what sustains our Faith by receiving the graces that God pours out upon us for just being there...quit going to Mass and you will soon...quit being a practicing Catholic. Its simple math...Mass+ graces received = Sustained Faith...and...Faith - Mass=No Faith (eventually). That is why Mass is a weekly Sunday obligation...think about it...Confession...and...Holy Communion are only required once a year....attendance at Sunday Mass is water for us in the desert...skip it...death of faith is imminent.

Second...would he plead that same case...using that same logic to Our Lord Jesus in person?...with confidence? Remember... Christ himself said...to Peter and to the Seventy disciples...not to your husband:

Matthew 16:18-19
Knox Bible (KNOX)

18 And I tell thee this in my turn, that thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; 19 and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven

Luke 10:16
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)

The Mission of the Seventy

16 “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

God's "Modus Operandi"... when he and his laws are rejected by those who know his truths/laws...is quite startling...(the context of this excerpt are sins of the flesh...but the modus operandi...can be the same for us all when we set our rejection of any of God's grave laws...in concrete in our mind and in our heart). Mercy is always there if we are trying and fail...but God does not play around with rejection by those who have received the fullness of his truths and laws...he withdraws many graces and the "hole gets deep and dark" very quickly.

Romans 1:28-32
Knox Bible (KNOX)

28 And as they scorned to keep God in their view, so God has abandoned them to a frame of mind worthy of all scorn, that prompts them to disgraceful acts. 29 They are versed in every kind of injustice, knavery, impurity, avarice, and ill-will; spiteful, murderous, contentious, deceitful, depraved, backbiters, 30 slanderers, God’s enemies; insolent, haughty, vainglorious; inventive in wickedness, disobedient to their parents; 31 without prudence, without honour, without love, without loyalty, without pity. 32 Yet, with the just decree of God before their minds, they never grasped the truth that those who so live are deserving of death; not only those who commit such acts, but those who countenance such a manner of living.[a]

Pray hard...it is a very serious mistake your husband is making. Besides Saint Rita, I would recommend :

Elisabeth Arrighi Leseur (October 16, 1866–May 3, 1914), born Pauline Elisabeth Arrighi, is a French mystic best known for her spiritual diary and the conversion of her husband, Félix Leseur (1861–1950), a medical doctor and well known leader of the French anti-clerical, atheistic movement.[1] The cause for the canonization of Elisabeth Leseur was started in 1934. Her current status in the process of canonization is that of a Servant of God.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elisabeth_Leseur

Pax Christi


#7

My darling wife is a cradle catholic but is a bit scatter brained and if I was not always being a sergeant major sometimes she would forget Mass. So I find myself shouting and cajoling four women (one wife three daughters) every Sunday or Saturday evening. If I am away I have to SMS and phone to check up. She has improved over the years but I have to be continually vigilant. I have told the girls that as long as they are in my house they go to Mass. It is not negotiable. Then I sometimes get told well they are all tired from a busy weekend. Then I explode and say well you had enough time for fun all weekend but no time for God. Girls have wonderful delaying tactics like suddenly having to go t o the bathroom or get a new jersey out. Sometimes by the time I get to Mass I have committed enough sins of anger and irritation that I am quite worked up. It is an ongoing struggle.


#8

[quote="VioletLove, post:1, topic:327345"]
Hi all,

I got married just over a month ago, and my husband and I had not lived in the same city for 3 years. We lived very far away from each other and though we spoke on the phone nearly every day, we previously only saw and spent time together for a few days every other month or so. We met in college at our campus Catholic Center and it always seemed like that was what brought us together.

Now, suddenly, my husband is saying he doesn't like living with all these "rules" of Catholicism and doesn't see the importance of Sunday Mass. He explained that his definition of what makes a good person has changed, and so he doesn't think not going to mass makes him less of a good person, and going to mass doesn't make him any better.

I was totally shocked and didn't really know what to say, so unfortunately I let the moment pass without much of a rebuttal. I've been trying to sort out my thoughts before I address the situation again. I know that I should mention the importance of the Eucharist in leading us to a more Christ-like state (or to help mold us into better people) but I know I need more and I'm not quite sure where to start. I'm concerned that by not spending time together consistently for 3 years, I missed that he was feeling this way, which makes me concerned for future issues.

Does anyone have any advice? Prayers at the least would be appreciated.

Thank you!
-Violet

[/quote]

I will add you to my prayers. You are in a tough situation. You may have assumed more than is true about your husband, unfortunately. Did you do a pre-Cana class, and did any of these issues come up then? This is not going to be easy, you are starting out on the wrong footing for sure.


#9

Why don’t you say to your husband that he is right. (or at least partly right) I do believe that we need to come to the Mass but this is only one part of the puzzle. The other part is what we do the rest of the week. Without our cooperation during the week our weekly Masses will not contribute at all. God still needs our “mustard seeds” during the week if the Sunday’s Mass will be of any value. So in a sense your husband is right. If people only go to Mass and do nothing during the week then why come? It is like in Luke’s Gospel when the rich man (God) gave an incredible investment (the Eucharist) to many people. But one decided to hide this investment in a handkerchief. The rich man (Jesus) questions this man’s action and said why didn’t he put this money into a bank account so as to earn interest. What Jesus is saying here is why didn’t you at least prayed with this investment. Praying is the easiest way in earning interest. So God expects us to do something with this investment we receive every Sunday. It is never a one way street. God sees your “interest” as important as what He does for you on Sunday. Perhaps this is what is meant from your husband’s words. I teach in my Orthodox Church the value of the Mass by showing how more important is your contribution that you give during the week. Without these contributions during the week you are not doing anything worth mentioning.


#10

Thank you all for your prayers and guidance. It is much appreciated.

I’m honestly not sure if this is just a phase. During pre-Cana and up to our marriage I had no reason to believe he felt otherwise. He had, in fact, been encouraging a friend to come to Mass with him and try the Catholic faith. And we had always talked about making adoration a monthly ritual and prayer a priority. He always seemed to take a lot of pride in Catholic tradition. I think perhaps he got lost in the tradition and forgot the meaning of some of it. It would do us both good I think to re-educate ourselves on why we do what we do as Catholics.

Fred Bartels- I will check out those podcasts and Tim Staples- Thank you for suggesting them.

marty1818- I did not know much about St. Rita. Thank you for sharing this, I will seek her intercession.

chimo- Thank you for pointing out that scripture passage. I think that is exactly what he was referring to and isn’t sure how to connect the Mass with good works. This is a great example for me to present to him.

To all: Thank you again for all of your responses. I know that ultimately it will be deep prayer and he I really having this discussion out. God bless you all! :slight_smile:


#11

Different people have different reasons for going to Mass. Even the same person, at different times in his life, might have different motives and varying levels of motivation.

Let me begin with my own story. I am not sure how relevant it is to your own and your husband's story, but who knows? Following that, I'll write up some ideas for you. That may get into another post or two because of the length.

When I was a child, I was brought up in the every-Sunday-come-hell-or-high-water tradition, and for many years that was a good enough reason for me. As I recall, I went to Mass primarily because it was an obligation.

That continued at least until I was in my twenties, and then Sunday Mass took on an additional significance as a social framework. I was in wonderful campus Catholic communities that, of course, were geared for young adults. At that time I was beginning to think more about my relationship with God, doing a little Bible study, a little prayer. Those were very good years.

My Sunday Mass routine broke down when I was 28-30 years old, shortly after finishing my studies. I had moved to a new city, and found myself in a parish that appeared to be slowly dying. Most of the congregation were old ladies. The pastor's homilies were generally gloomy. Imagine, if you will, a sermon about how life is empty and meaningless, so our only hope is in God. That may play well to the widows, but not to a young person full of hope. I tried another parish across town, but it was just too new-age, politically correct, and spiritually listless. Sad to say, I gradually dropped out of Sunday Mass, except for family gatherings and holidays.

What got me back was having kids. My wife and I are both born-and-raised Catholic, and yet had both dropped out for a time, though we married in the church during that time. We had children and wanted to raise them to be morally upright and strong, etc., and realized we couldn't do it on our own. We needed the structure and community of the Church. Our kids were baptized. We discovered that our new home parish is full of life and spiritual energy. I somehow stumbled into a men's catechism and scripture study group that has re-ignited my Catholic faith. Now when I go to Mass it has more significance to me than ever before. I appreciate and enjoy each and every prayer, song, and rite.

I still have a ways to go. I have occasions of sin and moments of doubt. Yet I am closer to God than ever before. Let us pray that I do not stray too far or too often.
Luke 15:3-7, Parable of the Lost Sheep

Here are a few thoughts about your situation:

I wonder if your husband experienced a bit of a letdown upon leaving the campus Catholic community, as I did. See if your current parish has some programs that would work better for him. Depending on his personality, this might be a Bible study group, a volunteer service group, or a men's group (I'm not thinking of the Knights of Columbus, surely a fine group but perhaps more of a commitment than he's ready to make, but a men's study group like the one I participate in, or whatever, maybe a men's cookout club?). Anything that gets him engaged with the parish community will be a good influence.

By the way, if it is just the Mass that he objects to, perhaps you can persuade him along the lines of "Well, you can't quit the church entirely. The (Bible study or whatever program) would be a good way to (get whatever it is he hopes to get out of it)."

Perhaps your parish offers Why Catholic?, a study program based on the Why Catholic series of workbooks.

My parish has occasional showings of the Catholicism video series. See if you can find it at your parish. I highly recommend it. This is not your typical watered-down TV "infotainment." It is very informative, visually appealing, and (for me at times) inspiring. You could purchase it on DVD (but do shop around for a good price), and I see that there is an accompanying book that may even be available through your public library (I just checked, and my town library has it).

If you think your current parish somehow just isn't meeting his emotional, social, or spiritual needs, perhaps the two of you could visit a neighboring parish.

Oh dear, it is getting late. I'll write more another time.


#12

In my previous message, I did not mean to suggest that any of those other church activities would replace or be an acceptable substitute for Sunday Mass. Rather, I meant that they might rekindle your husband's interest in Catholicism and restore his willingness and/or desire to go to Mass.

Another idea for motivation is music. If one of the Masses has music of a sort that your husband likes, it might be a little extra incentive for him, at least something to get him in the door, whereupon he may remember what he liked about Mass in the past.

I wouldn't have thought this could be such a strong factor, but it worked for a friend of mine who had been trying for years to convince his wife to come with him to Sunday Mass. He got nowhere on this issue until a violinist began playing regularly at one of the Masses. His wife loves violin music, and this, after all other efforts had failed, got her to come to Mass. "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform."


#13

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