Interruptions during prayer


#1

I attend daily mass before work in the morning. After mass I have some time where I am able to pray in the church. I really treasure this time to pray for several reasons. Its the only time I’m able to be in the church with my very busy schedule.

A few weeks ago I met a lady at my church and have become somewhat friendly with her. She also attends daily mass. I like her, but… she’s annoying me in that, every day after mass, she insists on speaking to me. Just shooting the breeze type of stuff, nothing important. This has gone on every single day since we met, except for a few days where she was ill and not at mass.

To begin with, she would interrupt me while I was praying immediately after mass. At first I just accepted this, because I didn’t think it was going to be every day. Then after it happened quite a few times and *was *every day, I started getting annoyed so after mass I changed pews and went to kneel right in front of the tabernacle. This didn’t work though because she would follow me there and interrupt me anyhow. Finally I said to her, “I would like to pray after mass if you don’t mind.” She agreed and apologized for interrupting me.

So fine… I thought the problem was solved. But the very next day, she began sitting in the pew right behind me during mass, and then after mass, sitting there waiting while I prayed. It doesn’t matter if I pray for 5 minutes or 30 minutes, she sits and waits the entire time until I am finished and then comes and starts chatting to me. I find it very unnerving and distracting knowing she is behind me, waiting for me to finish my prayers. I have a hard time concentrating on praying as a result.

I’ve tried to view this situation as a trial or a cross, and offering it up. I’ve tried praying for her, and thinking to myself that perhaps she is lonely. But I’m finding it really difficult overall, since its every single day.

Today I was struggling with a personal issue and I wanted to pray about it, but of course she was behind me in the pew again. Internally I started getting angrier and angrier about it, even though I was trying to stay calm and ignore her it bothered me. Finally I gave up on praying. She was talking to someone else so I quickly stepped out and went to work. When I got home today there was a message on my answering machine from her… “Judith, you didn’t say hi to me after mass today!” :banghead:

I don’t know what to do about this situation. Should I continue to offer it up and pray for her? Be kind because she really wants to speak to me? Or should I be more direct with her and tell her again (I have a few times) she’s disturbing me? I’m honestly really conflicted and would like some opinions.


#2

Sounds like God gave you a new friend. How about asking her to pray with you? Maybe thats why you met her! :slight_smile:

– Cadian :knight1:


#3

Could you speak to her immediately after Mass ends for a minute or two and then politely but firmly end the conversation? She’s obviously lonely and treasures her opportunity to speak with you, so giving her some attention is an act of charity that pleases Our Lord.

Maybe like this: “Hello, Ms. Lady! How are you today?” … she tells you … other small talk … “Well, it’s so good to see you, and I hope you have a wonderful day. I have some things to talk over with Our Lord now. Bye!”

You stay in control of the conversation’s beginning and end, so you won’t be getting annoyed with her. What do you think?

Betsy


#4

Duh, I don’t know why I didn’t think of asking her to pray with me!! But that is a really great idea, I think I may try it tomorrow! Thanks! Maybe it would do her some good to pray after mass also.

[quote=baltobetsy]Could you speak to her immediately after Mass ends for a minute or two and then politely but firmly end the conversation? She’s obviously lonely and treasures her opportunity to speak with you, so giving her some attention is an act of charity that pleases Our Lord.
[/quote]

Yes… I thought she was lonely and honestly I feel guilty for being annoyed. :frowning: No use denying it though, I have felt very annoyed. But you are right, if nothing else it is an act of charity and maybe I should try putting myself in her shoes. She doesn’t work, I think she may be on some sort of disability actually… so maybe talking to people after mass is the highlight of her day.

[quote=baltobetsy]Maybe like this: “Hello, Ms. Lady! How are you today?” … she tells you … other small talk … “Well, it’s so good to see you, and I hope you have a wonderful day. I have some things to talk over with Our Lord now. Bye!”

You stay in control of the conversation’s beginning and end, so you won’t be getting annoyed with her. What do you think?
[/quote]

Wow, this is a really great idea too! I’m so glad I asked here. I guess maybe I am guilty of judging her and being unfriendly. :blush: I just really have found it very annoying. But both ideas are really great, I may try both out actually. Thanks so much.


#5

I haven’t been online for a while, extremely busy with work, but I thought I would post an update on this situation. Unfortunately it turned out very badly. When I “gave in” to this woman and talked to her more, she began demanding more and more of my time. She started calling me multiple times a day and even showed up unannounced at my home on several occasions. She became angry and aggressive when I told her to leave me alone. Eventually I had to consult with the priest and then call the police to get her to stop harassing me.

I’m mentioning this just as a warning more than anything… as a new Christian I had assumed that I was required to “give in” to someone who was pestering me, in Christian charity. However, right from the start I had a bad feeling about how much she was pestering me, and I didn’t listen to that gut feeling. The situation escalated as a result. My priest told me that I have no obligation to be friendly to everyone in the parish, and that if someone is pestering me I have the right to tell them to stop (nicely, of course). But that my feelings matter also, and I needn’t just give in to the wishes of someone else.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say that, in case someone else finds themselves in a similar situation. After she started pestering me so much, I hadn’t wanted to be friends with this woman, but I thought as a Christian I didn’t have any choice.


#6

Oh, Judith, I’m so sorry it turned out badly for you. You’ve learned a very important lesson, albeit the hard way: Christian does not equal doormat. You do not need to give up taking care of yourself every single time someone wants something. There are times to help others and times to help yourself, and a good old fashioned gut feeling is a very fine guide.

Betsy


#7

try going to an earlier or later mass where she isnt there then you can pray in peace…or talk to the lady and do your praying after your quick talk with her


#8

You have encountered a “monopolizer” - - - someone who wants all of your time, and probably doesn’t understand the value of silence while in church or in prayer!

I have a couple of those, too, at my morning mass. It is irritating to say the least!

I have tried to be charitable, too, but I have found that to be a mistake!

I just want to go to mass, worship, pray, and be with God in SILENCE and then go on with the rest of my day.

Oh vey!


#9

Wow, this is a really old post. However, I do believe that God sends people to us for a reason whether they be good or bad. It all depends on how we respond in accordance to God’s will. In these situations, I usually ask the Holy Spirit to remind me about the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit (charity, patience, self-control, discernment, etc).

Also, in my ‘neck of the woods’ , I don’t usually find ‘pestering’ people at daily Mass whether it be 6:30am or 8:00am. All people are God’s children, even with all the various idosyncracies/imperfections we all have.

If I were in this situation, I would have gone to a different Mass time, and would have talked to the priest just as you have already done. This person may have a psychological/psychiatric disorder that you are not aware of.

You/we should pray for this person and yourself as well.


#10

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