Feeling Restless/Distracted at Mass

For some reason I just can’t get comfortable at my parish :(. I come on to CAF and read all the controversy on proper mass attire, holding hands during the Our Father, clapping during mass, having guitars at mass, etc. The list, as you all most likely know, goes on and on and on.

My other concern has to do with my parish priest. Very kind man but at one point he gave me advice on a personal matter that was HIGHLY contradictory to Catholic teaching. I’ve been a little wary of him ever since.

On a lighter note however, this priest is a major “upgrade” from the last one.

I am a convert so I really have noo idea what is really appropriate during mass and what isn’t. I am also a very scrupulous person so this is really hard on me. My mind is literally all over the place.

I actually visited another parish in the area because I have been so desperate to not get distracted at mass and unfortunately the conditions were even worse.

Has anyone experienced the same or similar struggle? Can anyone offer some wisdom on the matter? I’m so confused. :o

What you’re experiencing is simply being human.

Sometimes we feel like we’re soaring through the gates of heaven during the Divine Liturgy (which is the actual spiritual truth of the matter).

Sometimes, we can’t get past our immediate earthly surroundings.

And sometimes we’re simply comfortable and at home in it.

You intend to be there and praise the Father through the offering of His Only-begotten Son. That’s the main thing.

And that’s all that’s in your control. Your feelings are not.

I second what bpbasilphx said.
This is my biggest sin (it is a sin for me because it usually leads into judging others for myself, not necessarily for you). So, for example, when people hold hands at Mass my first thought is often “Ug, don’t they understand what’s supposed to be happening” or if a parish might use a guitar or clap or do anything that goes against the GIRM, I usually judge them to be inferior or not understand what is going on.

Recently, though, I have tried to remember that just because something goes against the GIRM does not mean that it’s evil, or that the people that are doing it are bad people (depending, of course, on the seriousness of the action and the knowledge of the people involved as well as intent). I might not hold hands during the Our Father, but who am I to judge those that do? I might prefer an organ at Mass, but who am I to judge those that don’t? I recieve on the tongue, but who am I to judge those that don’t? But, again, that’s why for me it’s a sin.
I just try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’ve become much better about it, but it’s because I’ve slowly trained myself to not be a watchdog. So what if someone doesn’t follow the GIRM perfectly? I don’t know the circumstances surrounding it, and if I did I shouldn’t care.

To sum up this too long of a post, what you do at Mass is also done by many others. All you’ve got to do is try and train yourself to not do it. It’s hard, but possible.

jenlovesyu, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your relationship with your loving Father God is to stop reading and concerning yourself about what’s proper and what’s not at Mass. When it comes down to reality, there’s nothing you can do about irregularities at your parish except be outraged or worried, and neither of those things is helpful to you as one who struggles with scrupulosity.

Another thing I suggest is to be more willing to trust your priest. Sometimes the advice given to scrupulous people is different from what would be told to someone who does not have that struggle. It might appear to be contrary to Church teaching, but in fact, be tailored specifically for you in your particular situation, and be perfectly all right. If you receive confusing advice from him again, ask him whether that’s the case.

Instead of being worried about how the Mass is celebrated, concentrate on the great Mystery unfolding before you. You literally travel in time to the foot of the Cross to participate in the saving death of Jesus, to offer the sacrifice of His Body and Blood to the Father, and to receive Him in Holy Communion. How marvelous is that? Just rest in all that and let everything else go.


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