discouraged

Hello.

Feel discouraged in my faith. Can’t seem to pray, got an unusually heavy penance at Confession and I think the priest just doesn’t like me --> don’t know right now if it’s my mental illness manifesting itself or what – and I feel rejected by my family. I feel as though I’ve never had a mother and that my life is simply a series of rejections.

I feel like that saying implies “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Any charitable comments are appreciated. Please pray for me.

I may not be the best person to answer as I need to go to Confession (it’s been AGES) and I have always been a little worried about what I’d get as penance. Having read what many other people get though, saying a string of Our Fathers and Hail Marys is totally fine by me. If it consisted of something like having to attend church daily - that’s a little more difficult for me to actually do as I currently can’t get to a church every day and when I am back at work there’s no way I could do that with work hours and no car etc.

I am currently suffering from a lot of anxiety and depression, possibly even a nervous breakdown from a string of bad events over the past 2 years. When times are like this, it is indeed easy for your mind to conjure up the worst in things and feel that you’re being singled out unfairly. I feel I’ve been isolated by everyone and I also feel that I am pushing everybody away from me, wanting to stay in my own bubble. This only increases those feelings of being singled out, it is a horrible vicious cycle to be in…

I don’t wish to ask you what you got for your penance as that is a personal thing. But as I’ve also read here, if you strongly feel that your penance is extremely harsh, it seems (from other posts I’ve read) you can discuss this with that priest or talk to a different priest.

Ask St Dymphna to help you, I’m sure she will help clarify things for you in your mind. Stay strong and persevere in prayer and you can overcome your obstacles :slight_smile:

Don’t be too discouraged about the penance you receive in Confession. I don’t know what you consider “big”, but when you consider that Hell is the alternative to forgiveness, the Penance one receives is a mere pittance for the remission of your sins.
As for the person who hasn’t been to Confession for a while, don’t worry about a large penance. I was away from the Church for over 50 years, and after entering a VA Hospital via their Emergency Room, their Catholic Chaplain was waiting for me in the room when I was wheeled in on a gurney. He asked me if I wanted Communion and I said yes. He prepared to give me a general absolution and I told him that I was uncomfortable receiving without Confession. I told him how long that I had been away from the Church, and the only thing I hadn’t done was murder someone. but everything else was done innumerable times. My Penance? One decade of the Rosary…and the priest gave me one. I received and was also anointed. I began to recover shortly thereafter.
I have been observant ever since…because I realized the result of the 9 First Fridays observance was true.

I’m sorry it’s been so hard of late. I once got a penance of having to walk across an entire church …on my knees. Although, I live in Mexico. I bled from doing that. It’s a fairly common penance, here, though.

Then, I decided to leave the Church and stayed away, I think, over 10 years, total.
I thought, “This is not for me”.

I tried a bunch of churches, church after church…denomination after denomination, but even with all these experiences, I returned to the Church, because I believe, which was only reinforced by my search, that the Catholic Church has the “fullness of truth”.

In retrospect, when I think of my entire life and think that penance…for the sins I’ve committed during my life would actually be exceedingly light, because I have not been a very good person!

So, I try to accept my penances, now. Yes, it hurts when I feel a priest might not like me. I try to find priests I can at least relate to me a bit, if possible. We can’t always pick and choose. At certain churches, we get whoever is available at the time.

However, I am going to another church where I can pick my confessor.

Now, it’d hurt my feelings, but if a priest told me to walk on my knees in 20 churches, in reality, it’d be a small price to pay given all the sins I’ve committed during my life. I’d be getting off VERY light!

Maybe your confessor was having a bad day or misunderstood the gravity or lack of gravity of your situation…

But any penance now is far better than any time in purgatory.

Any sin is like pounding another nail into our Lord’s hand. Jesus suffered having committed no sins… If we are made to suffer it is due to actual sins. If you think it’s too harsh offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory.

Think of the rejection as a good thing. Back when I was catholic, I learned that somewhere in the bible (can’t remember the verse) Jesus said his followers would be persecuted and hated. I was having a (vaguely) similar experience toward the end of my life as a catholic and that verse turned it into an encouragement. It made me see the persecution as proof that I was right :D. I did leave the church, but that certainly wasn’t why :slight_smile:

No matter where you live, if you think a Penance you receive in Confession is too severe, I strongly recommend that you rent a copy of the movie “The Passion of The Christ” by Mel Gibson. It will really open your eyes as to how Christ suffered for our sins. Afterwards, your Penance will not seem to severe!

I would really recommend you obtain a copy of St Faustina’s Divine Mercy diary.

Here is just an excerpt of Jesus’ words:

Today the Lord said to me, Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls. (1602)
My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light. (1725)

In all my time as a catholic, i have never seen anyonehave to walk on their knees across the church, as some form of penance. That is ridiculous. But hey, the priest has to.do his annual penance in front of everyone at Easter when he has to wash feet & kiss legs!! So temember that.

I don’t the priest dislike you. The penance is between him and you and we need to both trust and respect priests. Sometimes we don’t get any penance no matter how grave our sin may be, just to confess it may be the penance.

I suffer as well from depression and panic disorder so I think I know how you may feel, pure hell. But God love you, what more do you want? For me that is enough because it mean that you are safe. Talk to God, pray, He do understand.

Well I’m certainly praying for you.
While we cannot really speak to your mental health issues, it does seem that this could be at least part of the problem. Perhaps you should look into this - possible med change etc.

Holding on to our faith in the difficult times is - well - difficult - but it is through these kinds of tests that we grow.

On a practical note - some of the best antidote for such depression is getting out - volunteer work is useful and this time of year especially there should be opporunities for such work…

Just some thoughts.

Peace
James

I agree with this. You have to get out of your own thoughts somehow and that is best done by focusing on the needs of others. Also thank and praise the Lord for allowing your situation just as it is, ask Him what He wants to teach you, have faith He is working for your good, and refuse to entertain those discouraging thought loops, but instead have a Spirit of peace.

Thank you so much for this quote.

No matter where you live, if you think a Penance you receive in Confession is too severe, I strongly recommend that you rent a copy of the movie “The Passion of The Christ” by Mel Gibson. It will really open your eyes as to how Christ suffered for our sins. Afterwards, your Penance will not seem to severe!

And for this quote.

Don’t be too discouraged about the penance you receive in Confession. I don’t know what you consider “big”, but when you consider that Hell is the alternative to forgiveness, the Penance one receives is a mere pittance for the remission of your sins.

And for this one.

Very helpful for me to think about.

And wow, walking across an entire church on one’s knees, that is sorrow for one’s sins. My hat is off to you. Thank you for your good example.

I just wish I were better.

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