Did I overdo it with going to Mass?


#1

Ok, I have to explain this thread.

A while back there was a thread called “occult influences”: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=250385

One member wrote this to another member:

What is happening to you is very real. You are under attack. You must call upon St Michael every day. You must go to confession. Have the priest lay his hands on your head and bless you. Get a bottle of holy water and bless every room of your house. Actually, it is a good idea to ask the priest to come and bless your house. If you can get EWTN, leave the tv on that station all day, and pray along with the sisters.

You have your baby to think about. Have you baptized your baby? You need to rid your home of all those evil influences.

My reply was this(which also explains more about me) on August 31, 2008:

A couple of months later I wrote this on December 18th, 2008:

Anyway, after that everything went quite smoothly with the usual up and downs in life. I stuck to going to Mass on Sundays, occasionally went to Church during the week to pray and didn’t “overdo” it.
Then Easter came along. I first went to Mass on Holy Thursday which went from about 9 p.m. to midnight. The next morning I went to Mass on Good Friday.
I decided to go to Mass on Saturday, Sunday and Monday too.

I didn’t think about what the priest had told me a while ago but around Sunday I started feeling uneasy. The following week I felt a bit down and went to Mass again on the following Thursday(one week ago).
When last Sunday came around I felt really depressed all day. I dragged myself to Mass at 6 p.m. and was really depressed. After Mass the depression was gone and I felt refreshed but Monday I was really down and from then on I was really feeling unusually uneven.
I blamed it on the weather or on something I might have eaten but today it was extreme. I had short flashes of depression that I’ve never experienced. I got a taste of what depression must be like and it wasn’t nice.
Before Easter I was totally fine. I had my up and downs that everyone experiences but that was it. I have to admit that these feelings I got ever since Easter kind of scare me.
I’m also concerned that the more I go to Mass the extremer it might get.

What do you think? Am I reading too much into this? Is it possible that this is only my imagination?
I was thinking of talking to my priest too but I would be curious if my experience might be common.

Thanks for any advice on what I should do.


#2

I have no idea if this is normal, but I did have some emotional ups-and-downs after Easter. I think in my case it was sadness that Lent was over. This Lent was a very fulfilling time for me, and in past years I’ve always lost my momentum after Lent. The thought of losing any of the richness and growth I experienced during Lent was sad for me.

So one way I’m dealing with the emotional reactions is to try and fill my life with some other sort of devotion. I haven’t figured out exactly what, but I do know it needs to be different than what I was doing during Lent. That was just overwhelming - trying to carry it on through Easter would be too much. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do yet, but just deciding to do something helped.

But I also overdid things a little during Easter, and that didn’t help. I was in the choir, so I was at most of the Masses - Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and two Easter Sunday services - one with my family, and one with the choir. I was drinking a lot of coffee to help me keep up, which causes me not to absorb enough iron, so I think my iron dropped enough to start affecting me and that added to it. I’ve been watching my diet the last couple of days - no coffee :frowning: and lots of red meat and iron-rich veggies, and that seems to have helped :thumbsup:


#3

I suppose it could be that sensations occurring after excessive mass attendance could be attributed to over doing it. But it could also be due to other factors in your daily life, i.e., diet and exercise, for example.


#4

It does sound strange. A lot of people go to Mass every day, and they’re fine. Me too.

I don’t know what psychological or spiritual, or even a physical matter is affecting you.

I don’t know your history so it’s hard to say, but I pray you can find the right priest/person to advise you. You don’t hold any unforgiveness against anyone, and you or your family haven’t dabbled in the occult in any way?

Take care of yourself, peace comes from God, anxiety and tension don’t.

I’ll be going to Mass fairly soon. It’s Friday morning in Australia, and I’ll pray for you at Mass.

Warm regards, Trishie


#5

Lui,

Catholic evangelist Mark Mallett has a blog post called “Fighting fire with Fire” which I think you may find helpful. Unfortunately demons have the ability to manipulate our feelings, and some of their attacks can seem emotionally overwhelming.

Mark Mallett explains how you can turn these attacks back on them by offering up the attacks. Often the demons will knock it off when you do this, since they don’t want to be used for the good of souls.


#6

Thanks for the replies.:slight_smile:

I’m guessing that you’ve been going to Mass for many years while I just started going last summer which might make a difference. Actually my priest told me then that I shouldn’t “overdo” it or I might experience attacks. I would have never connected my feeling of depression/anxiety with going to Mass if he hadn’t mentioned that. Also I just remembered what he said AFTER I realized them the following week of going to Mass 5 days in a row.
The OP of the “occult influences” thread wrote:

I generally try to avoid falling into the belief of demonic influence. It just sounds so superstitious and hokey. But having witnessed things from ‘the other side of the coin’ so to speak, I am beginning to think I might need help.

I feel the exact same way.

I made an appointment to meet my priest today but he will be on holiday for a week so I have to wait until May 7th:(


#7

Just a thought: do you have an opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration, maybe once a week? I’m praying for you – as are lots of others here.

God bless,
Dan


#8

I can’t comment on if you are reading too much into this (you and a spiritual director will need to determine this) but I can say that these things do happen.

I know someone who has attacks of physical symptoms the majority of the time he goes to Mass (and he goes daily). The symptoms will consist of a tight chest, labored breathing, hyperventilation and bouts of extreme fear. They usually begin on the drive to church and most usually let up as Communion time approaches.

This past Lent he began praying the Liturgy of the Hours and ever since the physical attacks have become common even during the day while at work or at home.

These attacks started coming on about four years ago as he started delving deeply into the faith. Prior to that time he was devout but only in the sense that he went to Mass weekly – his prayer life was weak and his conversing with our Lord was not deep and constant.

One may ask: are these truly diabolical or are they simply the result of some bodily or psychological infirmity or disease. All indications point to diabolical as he has been tested up, down and sideways by doctors who have given him a clean bill of health. Additionally, he has been directed spiritually by a good and holy priest at a local abbey for the past year and a half who says these symptoms are not of a purely bodily or psychological nature.

So the long and short of it is that these things you are experiencing can be of a diabolical nature. If so, the best remedy, whether for the benefit of easing them up – or for the benefit of the holy souls in Purgatory, the conversion of sinners, the propagation of the faith, the strengthening of your faith, etc. – is to: 1) thank our Father for allowing you to be attacked (Thy will be done); 2) ask Jesus to grant you the strength and peace of mind to endure and to send the Holy Spirit upon you; 4) call on the help of Mother Mary, St. Michael the Archangel and your Guardian Angel to protect you from these attacks (if it is God’s will) and to console you; 5) offer them up as a sacrifice of love to God.

Finally, remember that many of the saints were attacked, some for a good portion of their lives even until their deaths. It may be scary at times, it certainly is not fun but if it indeed is the case that you are being attacked, thank God, praise Him always and persevere in our Holy Catholic faith and remember love conquers all.


#9

[quote=Dcrowmik]One may ask: are these truly diabolical or are they simply the result of some bodily or psychological infirmity or disease. All indications point to diabolical as he has been tested up, down and sideways by doctors who have given him a clean bill of health. Additionally, he has been directed spiritually by a good and holy priest at a local abbey for the past year and a half who says these symptoms are not of a purely bodily or psychological nature.

So the long and short of it is that these things you are experiencing can be of a diabolical nature. If so, the best remedy, whether for the benefit of easing them up – or for the benefit of the holy souls in Purgatory, the conversion of sinners, the propagation of the faith, the strengthening of your faith, etc. – is to: 1) thank our Father for allowing you to be attacked (Thy will be done); 2) ask Jesus to grant you the strength and peace of mind to endure and to send the Holy Spirit upon you; 4) call on the help of Mother Mary, St. Michael the Archangel and your Guardian Angel to protect you from these attacks (if it is God’s will) and to console you; 5) offer them up as a sacrifice of love to God.

Finally, remember that many of the saints were attacked, some for a good portion of their lives even until their deaths. It may be scary at times, it certainly is not fun but if it indeed is the case that you are being attacked, thank God, praise Him always and persevere in our Holy Catholic faith and remember love conquers all.
[/quote]

Lui,

The advise this poster gave you is excellent!

I do have to ask you, and I think at least one poster eluded to it; are you in the state of grace? I know you said that you just started going to church every Sunday this past summer. Did you go to confession and make a good one and have you gone any time since? How is your faith? Is it strong? If it is not, you are an easy target for discouragement and your staying away from mass and the sacraments only makes the Evil One smile.

As to your feelings, it is very possible that you are merely feeling the normal ups and downs of life and have connected them in your mind to your religious activity. I sometimes experience a “down” feeling when I show up at my church during the week for daily mass, only to find that it had been canceled. Also, if you feel an unusual exhilaration from mass attendance, it would not be abnormal to experience the down side of your attendance the next day.

I must say this: I have never heard a priest tell anyone that you could overdue attendance at mass, at least not from a spiritual sense. I do agree that your zealousness in mass attendance could make you a “target” of the Evil One. Lets face it; the holier you are, the bigger prize you become for the evil side, if you can be turned. But,no attack can take place unless it is the will of God, and to this end, you give glory to God by resisting the Evil One.

Keep in mind also, that anything that works against your doing God’s will, or keeps you from advancing in holiness can be considered the work of the Evil One. You don’t have to be physically possessed to be under attack. I believe that we are all under attack, everyday, mostly in ways that we do not even realize.

So, keep that appointment with your priest;
review and follow the very sound advise given you above by Dcrowmik; and, don’t let anything stop you from advancing in holiness.


#10

Here’s my bit. It’s not possible to “overdo” Mass*. If you are going frequently, you may experience demonic attacks. This means you’re doing something right! But, ignore them. God will give you the strength to overcome them. Remember when you dragged yourself to Mass at 6pm? That was by the grace of God.

So, ignore the spiritual attacks until you have a spiritual director. As of yet, you don’t have the experience or objectivity to evaluate what’s happening. Just know that it’s never wrong to partake of the sacraments and go to Mass.

On a side note, there is no Mass on Good Friday, just a Communion Service.

*I have heard that it should not be “usual” to go to Mass more than once a day. A friend told me that if we are to imitate religious brothers and sisters, they only attend one Mass per day. I would elaborate this to say that one should not attend an anticipated Mass or vigil Mass along with the Sunday Mass. But anyways, you did not do wrong in attending both the Easter Vigil and Easter Morning.


#11

Thanks for all the great posts.

I actually missed Mass on purpose today. I passed the Church but felt like it would be impossible for me to attend.

I need to go back further in order to illustrate my problem:

I have a general anxiety disorder that was once severely triggered by Transcendental Meditation around 12 years ago. I had meditated for about 20 minutes twice a day for several weeks and suddenly I had the feeling I couldn’t get back to a normal state of mind, like I was on some kind of hallucinogenic drug which was probably the result of my anxiety disorder that was severely increased by the meditation. This lasted a couple of months and I thought I would lose my mind. I thought if hell exists, this must be it.
I went to all kind of doctors but no one seemed to be able to help me. Not being religious(although I was baptized) I cried out one night “Jesus, you have to help me. You can’t leave me like this”. Over the course of several months I slowly crawled back to life and after about 6 months I was more or less back to being my normal self again. After that I always assumed the meditation must have screwed with my brain some how. The psychiatrist I was seeing(because of that incident) didn’t believe that. She said I’m suffering from an anxiety neurosis and the meditation just caused me to panic.
Anyway, after that I didn’t have any anxiety problems anymore. I got reminded that my healing was straight after I had prayed to Jesus which led to my faith that slowly began to grow.

My anxiety disorder isn’t cured but it’s like when you stuff it in a closet and lock the door you’re fine as long as you never open that door again. In other words, when it’s locked away I can control it but once it’s out it controls me. The years when by and in 2003 I moved to the Andes. I got a lot of colds from the climate change so I went to a doctor. The doctor also practiced Acupuncture and Ayurveda. For some reason she didn’t just want to solve my problem with getting colds but wanted to know my whole medical history. I mentioned the meditation and anxiety episode while discussing my medical history. She suddenly said that she can CURE my anxiety disorder even though I wasn’t feeling any problems from that. Like I mentioned, once I have my anxiety locked up I feel totally stable and fine(but I know it is locked up somewhere). She suggested acupuncture to cure my anxiety. She stuck two really tiny needles in my ear(you call that treatment ear acupuncture) and I was supposed to keep the needles in my ear for several days. I realized that everyday I was feeling more and more nervous. I guess I wasn’t to keen to touch the lock of that door that kept my anxiety tucked away. If a doctor treats you with something and suggests it will actually CURE you, the suggestive power or placebo effect is really strong(even if he would give you only a tic tac and say it is a magic pill). After 3 days I felt totally uneven and pulled the tiny needles out of my ear worrying that the same might happen again that happened after I meditated if I keep them in any longer.

The anxiety disorder actually got out of the door but it wasn’t as bad as when I had meditated but I was feeling nervous and panicky for several weeks. I prayed a lot and slowly got back to normal but I realized that I better just keep the door locked up instead of trying to cure my anxiety and just make things worse.
After that the feeling never came back and I started to read the bible more and pray more often. I still didn’t go to church.

When I came back to Germany in January 2008 I felt like I needed to get more serious with my faith. I wanted to finally receive the Holy communion and start going to Church.
I also got some Holy water and while in the bus I suddenly got that familiar feeling of anxiety(I mentioned that story in the other thread) but just for fractions of a few seconds.
When I met with the priest to discuss the Holy Communion he told me to read the bible everyday and that’s when he said I shouldn’t overdo it with going to Mass.

With my history you don’t have to tell me that twice. Everything went fine so far. I didn’t experience any anxiety feelings on the day of my Holy Communion and was surprisingly relaxed that day. I went to Church every Sunday with no problems
Everything went fine except for the week after Easter. It was a similar feeling like after the acupuncture but not as strong. I feel like the door is half open but I can still control my anxiety and hope to get it back in and lock the door.

Sorry for the long explanation but it gives you more insight.
There are several possibilities. One possibility is that my anxiety is the result of a placebo effect. Knowing that overdoing it with going to Mass might unconsciously trigger the feeling of anxiety that I have locked away, although I felt quite stable when I went to mass those 5 days in a row. In other words, I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. BTW, the priest who told me to be careful and not go too often at first, knows nothing about my anxiety condition

The other possibility is that I am actually being attacked and that triggers my anxiety.
Either way, I am a bit worried that I might “release” my anxiety disorder again when I would prefer to keep it locked away forever.

Now I’m not sure what to do. The best thing would be that I go to a priest who also knows psychology who can distinguish my problem. I prefer to skip Mass for a while and wait until I feel stable again and then approach things slowly.
I know I should trust that God won’t let me down and give me the strength but I’m sorry to say that I don’t have enough faith yet and even less strength to go through another anxiety episode again.
It’s like when you’re a kid and learning to ride a bike. You believe that your dad won’t let go of the bike and make sure you don’t fall but you still look back to make sure and are scared.

Maybe this is actually a test of my faith:(


#12

Lui, you should at least go to Mass on Sunday. I assure you, there is grace there, and peace enough to overcome your anxiety.


#13

I was away from the church for a long time about 25 years. In that time, I was away from the Church, I was involved in the occult. I have to tell you I dove into the Catholic faith head first and learn alot. My 2nd confession was the confession of a lifetime, but I find myself still confessing things that I didn’t my secular hell-bound days. I would be very wary of anyone, priest or otherwise that would say not to, “overdo it with going to Mass”. I heard the exact opposite. To visit and listen to the Lord and remember how merciful he is. And for a long time I used the adage, “Fake it, 'til you make it.” I was dragging myself to church and almost falling asleep during the homily. And interestingly enough, I mentioned today to my husband that Father doesn’t make me sleepy anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I struggle some days I am so exhausted from Mass and cathecism classes that all I want to do is sleep the rest of the day and sometimes I do. (Depression and anemia can get the best of me) but I am getting better at going to visit with the Lord and really listening. I still don’t read my Bible like I should and my prayer life isn’t the greatest but I find that praying for other offer up those inconvenience of life to the Lord helps me get through the tough times. We aren’t perfect, none of us are worthy to be in the presence of God. But one thing we are called to do is to be there at least once a week. Don’t listen to the voice that says don’t go to Church. That’s the voice that likes to tells us that we aren’t worth of God and that we are weak. Defy it and make it about the Lord.


#14

Well Said!

Lui,

Don’t let your fears, anxieties, the devil, or otherwise, keep you from going to mass.

May God’s Blessing be upon you.


#15

G’day Lui
Anxiety disorder is very debilitating and it sounds very much like what you are describing. I remember going to mass and having to be at the end of the seat in the back row and I couldn’t even go to a shopping centre without breaking into a sweat and experienceing chest pains and feel like I was going to faint. Once I found out what was going on and it took a lot of convincing, I found that I could take control over my life again. Hard but not impossible. As far as a priest telling you not to go to mass too often, I find it extraordinary. The tightnes in the chest and feeling ill can not hurt you and that is not caused by going to mass too often, but possibly by the memory of the thread you read some time back and is now triggering past memories. To recieve Jesus daily is the most wonderful thing that I have experienced and his great healing will help you overcome. The fears you are experiencing will fade with the knowledge of what they are. I do not think they are Satan attacking you. Trust in the mighty power of God in your life. Cheers may God grant you peace and knowledge, have a blessed day. geoff


#16

I went to see one of the priests of my Church today. I told him my whole story to give him the opportunity to get the whole picture. He reckoned that I might read too much into it considering my past experience with an anxiety disorder but even if it is a result of demon attacks I should just ignore them just like it was suggested in this thread.
It was a long and refreshing talk. I would like to talk to the priest who warned me about “overdoing it” though and like to know what he thinks.
The priest today offered me religious counseling which is probably a good idea because I think that many things can be overwhelming if you have to deal with it on your own.

I’m glad that everyone here encouraged me to keep on going to Mass instead of letting anxiety, the devil or whatever influences keep me from going, which eventually led me to go see one of the priests today.

Btw, I posted the same topic in a German Catholic forum today. One of the mods answered:“I find this topic inappropriate for an internet forum. Go see a doctor” and then he deleted my thread:mad:


#17

I am happy to hear things are working out. May our Lord’s Holy Spirit guide you and give you His peace and joy.

Wow! I am glad you posted here.

God bless,
Dan


#18

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