Distractions during Mass and prayer .

Is it a sin to get distracted during mass? I often find myself distracted and then quickly redirect my focus but I am worried that I have sinned afterwards. Same goes for prayer. Also, if I am praying then someone interrupts and starts talking to me, is it a mortal sin to quickly reply to them or finish the conversation, then resume praying?
I also have another question about confession. If I confess a sin, then recall a situation where I committed this sin in a separate situation beforehand, but could confess it in a more specific way . . . should I confess it or not (keeping in mind I wasn’t thinking of this particular situation when confessing my sins)?

Its venial sin, it is a mortal sin if your doing it on purpose. We’re there to thank the Lord, but I mean we all get distracted at times, loud noises etc. Its our best to keep focus as much as we can for mass.

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We are all human and we all make mistakes and get distracted. It happens. When it happens to me I just apologize to God and make an effort to do better. I confess it as well. As to your second question I would tell your confessor your situation and ask for some guidance.

Oh good heavens! It’s not a sin to be distracted in prayer! Our minds wander – some of us more than others. There is no sin in that.

When my mind wanders, I include whatever I’m thinking about in my prayers.

Thinking about groceries we need – I thank God for my job and ask Him to help me raise my son.

Thinking about those students who were so disrespectful in class last week – I ask their guardian angels to guide my teaching of these wee ones.

Thinking about the person who was zooming down the highway and nearly hit me – I ask God to forgive my angry outburst and pray for the safety of all travelers.

And so on…

Honestly, sometimes my prayers are far more centered on others when I’m distracted, and that’s probably a good thing. Just keep bringing your thoughts back to God in some way.

As for how to confess, keep it simple. Father doesn’t need details of when and why and how. “I was proud, and my pride caused difficulties in several relationships” is perfectly fine. You don’t need to say, “I was proud, so I yelled at my mom, I snapped at my boss, I insisted on my own way with my brother, etc.”

The more you confess, the easier it gets to know how much detail is needed. I always have plenty of sins to confess, so I’ve gotten very good at knowing how to keep my confessions short and to the point. Remember, you are confessing to God, and He already knows all your sins. We make a public confession of a few of our sins to acknowledge our sinfulness, not to show God we’ve been keeping accurate records. :smile:

Be at peace. Keep praying. Keep confessing. Keep learning. You are dearly loved. :heart:


Not necessarily. Distraction is all part of being human…in many cases it is no more sinful than dreams that are morally objectionable.


Distracted during mass and got interrupted while praying. I suppose in the former, you were not paying attention or perhaps dreaming, and then tried to focus again.

I do not think they were sins. It was just that you could not or did not focus properly, due to one reason or another. What it probably mattered to you more was that you did not have a meaningful participation during the mass.

We would always want a meaningful participation during the mass, that is one reason why we need to have good preparation for it.

As for interrupted prayers, similar thing again - you would want to focus when you pray. However, when you pray, you are not in a trance or that it must finish without interruption. You can stop anytime you want and to continue it when you want.

No, it is ok.

God bless.


thank you, I do have ocd which really affects me and I always end up beating myself up over it

You were at mass. God saw you. You were at prayer. God saw that. You are human. God made you.

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One day a woman asked Padre Pio, “Tell me how to pray. I am always distracted.”

Padre Pio replied, “You must not be distracted voluntarily. But if you’re distracted, continue to pray … our Savior knows that you are not an angel praying to Him but a poor woman…. And when you find it difficult to concentrate, don’t waste more time stopping to consider why and the wherefore. It’s like a traveler who loses his way. As soon as he realizes he is on the wrong road, he immediately sets himself on the right road again. So you must continue to meditate without stopping to reflect on your lack of concentration.”
This comes from a story I once read when I struggled with the problem of distraction during prayer.
Actually it was more of situation where my mind would wander rather than an outward distraction.


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