Experiences with lack of concentration during mass


#1

Does it happen to you?

Do you feel guilty if it does?

Has it happened to you during the most important parts?
During the Gospel reading?

How do you deal with it?

Kathrin


#2

If I were you I'd get a missal, a really good one, and say a little prayer from it every time you get distracted. I used to have minor problems with this, but as long as you keep your mind on God and 1) get the jist of the readings and 2) Properly receive the Eucharist and 3) are at least making an effort, then you are ok.

Just try not to let your mind wander to wordly stuff, like what's for lunch and what clothes I should have bought yesterday... hopefully that kind of thing isn't your problem.

EDIT: These are my own words (and numbers :p). As far as I know there's nothing in the catechism about this


#3

That kind of thing is my problem too :(.
It's not like I want to. I catch myself at it. I have talked to priests about it. A big thing is also extreme scrupulosity, and then I start worrying about something...
And of course I start feeling really guilty when I get distracted.
Especially when I get distracted thinking of something I enjoy or something like that. :(

I just wonder how normal this is.
If most people do it. At least once in a while.
Or if maybe something is wrong with me - too much anxiety?
It happens especially when I am really really tired. I recently found out I am probably anemic so maybe that's a part of it too...

It's not only at mass, it happens during conversations with people too sometimes... I realize I am fading away somehow in my thoughts....:blush:

I start going off on a tangent... the voice or accent of the priest and how it may sound to my friend, e.g.....

In any case YES I am making an effort, and I don't do it on purpose, so it can't be a mortal sin. (?)
I have talked about this often with different priests already.
Especially since they kow how scrupulous I tend to be they comfort me, give me tips, yes, but also tell me not to be so hard on myself as when I go as far as start wondering if I have to give things up because I thought about them during mass... and get into a whole spiral thoughts...

Kathrin


#4

[quote="Kathrin, post:3, topic:181711"]
That kind of thing is my problem too :(.
It's not like I want to. I catch myself at it. I have talked to priests about it. A big thing is also extreme scrupulosity, and then I start worrying about something...
And of course I start feeling really guilty when I get distracted.
Especially when I get distracted thinking of something I enjoy or something like that. :(

I just wonder how normal this is.
If most people do it. At least once in a while.
Or if maybe something is wrong with me - too much anxiety?
It happens especially when I am really really tired. I recently found out I am probably anemic so maybe that's a part of it too...

It's not only at mass, it happens during conversations with people too sometimes... I realize I am fading away somehow in my thoughts....:blush:

I start going off on a tangent... the voice or accent of the priest and how it may sound to my friend, e.g.....

In any case YES I am making an effort, and I don't do it on purpose, so it can't be a mortal sin. (?)
I have talked about this often with different priests already.
Especially since they kow how scrupulous I tend to be they comfort me, give me tips, yes, but also tell me not to be so hard on myself as when I go as far as start wondering if I have to give things up because I thought about them during mass... and get into a whole spiral thoughts...

Kathrin

[/quote]

If you're making an effort then there's no way this is a mortal sin, if even a venial sin! Just like when we get tempted, if we reject the temptations, having them isn't a sin.

Now that I think about it, I'm often distracted as well. So are lots of people that I know. Please don't worry so much!

Maybe check out the Ten Commandments for the scrupulous. These two virtually healed me of all my scrupulous-ness:
[quote=]9. If, before you perform or omit an act, you are doubtful whether or not it is sinful for you, you shall assume as certain that it is not sinful and shall proceed to act without any dread of sin whatever.

  1. You shall put your total trust in Jesus Christ, knowing that he loves you as only God can love, and that he will never allow you to lose your soul. [/quote]

God bless :)

PS: Also remember that the devil bothers you the most when you've got something important to do in the future. Just look at what happened to all the saints!


#5

Thank you very much Ljubim.


#6

YOu can get all kinds of advice on this. Everyone is subject to distractions at Mass.

Where do you sit in the church? If I sit way in back, there's a lot more things to distract me than when I sit in the first few pews, even the first pew.

Do you sit and whisper with people close to you? That's a distraction that should be pretty easy to fix. Stop doing it.

I listen to the EWTN Masses at home just for the first part of Mass, the scriptures and the homily. But, I even get distracted at home. I may miss the whole thing. I'm listening or fading out when the singers are singing a long Kyrie Eleison during the Mass. So, then I miss the prayer that the priest says right after it.

What might help me at home is to write down the scripture citation that is given on the screen, so that I'm more focused.

If you have the time, go to the EWTN website and look up the scriptures for Mass, maybe print them out and take them to church, to read along with the lector.

The idea is, I suppose, we're supposed to hear the Word proclaimed, but I'm distracted half the time by the lector, who reads too fast, for example, or who runs right into the "The Word of the Lord" at the end, and I immediately forget the last part of the scripture that he was reading.

I guess I'm suggesting, keep at it, try to focus on each part of the Mass. Each part is very significant -- which is almost trivialized by the fact that it seems to go so fast -- or so slow, depending on your point of view.

The Mass is very DEEP in mystery, and we have the opportunity to come face-to-face with these eternal mysteries, which we do, according to our capacity and disposition during Mass.


#7

I’ve found that sitting in the 1st or 2nd row in the front is very helpful. When I get distracted I put my focus back where it belongs. As someone else said, it isn’t a sin to be tempted. It’s how we deal with the temptation. After all, Jesus was tempted, too and he dealt with it. If you follow the Mass with a missal, it’s much easier to stay focused. Hope this helps!:slight_smile:


#8

Thanks for replying. :slight_smile:

OK I guess I’ll pass on some advice I have gotten myself here too… well, the most important thing I guess (this also from conversations with priests) is that once we catch ourselves, we focus back on the Mass.
That seems simple enough.

For a scrupulous person it might be hard because the guilt about having been distracted may lead to more distraction…

One priest said to try to think of the day’s Gospel when my thoughts wander off later during Mass… actually, that is a good way to keep our thoughts with God.

It sounds like this is not a problem only I am having… of course, this is relieving, but of course it doesn’t mean it should not be kept in check… :wink:

Well, i better go to bed now, it’s almost 2 am here, and talking about being tired during Mass…

:wink:

Kathrin


#9

I’ll throw a couple of suggestions out there.

Keep focused on the Eucharist. Understand that from the time of the consecration on, Christ is present with you. Look up at the altar and say hello to Jesus. I’ve taken to thanking Him for coming.

Understand that during the consecration you are witnessing a miracle … in fact the greatest of Christ’s miracles.

Take some time to study the theology of the Eucharist. A really good book is “7 Secrets of the Eucharist” by Vinny Flynn. That book completely changed the way I look at mass. For me the homily used to be the best part.

Now I sit in amazement as I watch my Lord come to meet his people, and prepare myself to receive Him.

During the Holy, Holy Holy (Sanctus) - visualize that you are truly praying with the angels, saints, and heavenly host. Look around the room and understand that however many people you see, 2x are there singing (ie, everyone’s angels). I absolutely LOVE the Sanctus now that I’ve gotten that through my thick skull.

One last thing - the temptation/guilt cycle is what I call “Satan’s double hook.” He throws out the temptation, I bite, then he immediately convicts me for biting the apple. Do your best to break this cycle by not submitting to the guilt. Recognize the fault, then “press on toward the goal.”


#10

[quote="Kathrin, post:8, topic:181711"]
Well, i better go to bed now, it's almost 2 am here, and talking about being tired during Mass....

;)

Kathrin

[/quote]

:rotfl: Haha, good night!


#11

I noticed it again today.
It happens so fast. One thought leads to the next.

For example: The priest speaks the blessing.
The blessing he speaks reminds me of a blessing my friend once sent me per text message when I was travelling.
That made me think of that train trip.
Then I started thinking of when I might travel again.

Goes so very fast - tak tak tak... and suddenly I realize I have missed part of the wording of the blessing again... :(

Stuff like that. So fast, not on purpose. In a matter of seconds maybe.


#12

I just thought of something… get a missal so if you miss a prayer, you can go right back and read it :smiley:


#13

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