Sometimes when I’m at Mass, my mind begins to wander. It can happen if I see someone I know across the room (the pews in my church are arranged in three wings around the altar, forming a T shape). I have Attention Deficit Disorder, and it annoys me to no end. I feel bad when I realize I’m not paying attention, but I can’t always help it. Any thoughts?
We’re in the same boat buddy. Although I haven’t had myself diagnosed, I have a feeling that I do. I know my 4.5 month old son has a longer attention span than I do.
I don’t know, I can’t help it. I just live with it. Try to find things that help you concentrate. When things are in the Missal, its good for me to read along. Or look at the priest. Keep up with whats going on around you. I guess us types just have to keep finding ways to “motivate” ourselves.
It’s humbling, but as long as you keep trying, God sees you are doing the best you can manage. God doesn’t ask of you what you can’t manage, but only what you honestly can.
St Therese of Lisieux complained of distractions…most of us have them!
Boy oh boy you are not alone in this matter :o
in addition to the good advice above this one, I would also like you to know that the mass is an event that MUST be experienced inwardly, and outwardly (Mainly inwardly.) Try to close your eyes and meditate. Remember that the mass itself is the highest form of prayer. We are not only encouraged to pray at the mass, but also pray the mass. The Mass is a prayer because in the Eucharistic Sacrifice the faithful join with Christ in offering themselves to the heavenly Father. This is not so obvious as may seem. We are so used to thinking of prayer as saying something that we have to get hold of ourselves to recognize that prayer is also and first of all doing something. What does Christ do? And in doing, how does He pray in the Mass? In the Mass Christ offers Himself body and soul, mind and will and emotions to His Father – even as He did at the Last Supper and as He consummated on Calvary. His original offering was not only a sacrifice, but a complete sacrifice, which means a holocaust. When He hung dying on the first altar of sacrifice He literally gave all that He could, because He gave all that He had as an oblation to God. If prayer is a communication between the creature and the Creator, which it is, Christ’s total self-giving of His humanity to God on the cross was the most perfect communication possible. It was a conversation but a conversation not so much in words as in deeds; in fact, in the unspeakable deed of God assuming human flesh so that as man He might surrender that flesh back to God.
Dont be discouraged my dear friend. Pray to your holy angel. Remember if there is ever a time where he is closer to you than ever, it’s at the holy mass.
I once wrote the following, mindful of my own distractions:
A Mass offering
Jesus, during Mass I am sometimes distracted. Regardless I ask to be fully in Your presence. May the Holy Spirit, our Mother, all Saints and Angels, the souls in Purgatory, offer Mass with me, for sake of Your whole Mystical Body. Even at most aware, I feel deaf, dumb and blind regarding the Eucharist. Therefore, I surrender my being and life, and all persons for whom I pray, to Your ‘Amen’ within this Sacramental Sacrifice.
Jesus, as the Spirit transubstantiates bread into Your body, please also transform me into You! I feel ordinary and small, and others see me so. Yet I am full of the peace of knowing that in the presence of the Father, through the Holy Spirit, with the communion of Saints and Angels, You pray Your Eucharistic prayer of love, thanksgiving and salvation in us. Thank You Jesus for the gift of Eucharist, which is beyond human understanding and hope.
I seek Your Eucharistic prayer in each instant of my life. I seek it for praise and thanksgiving to the Trinity—for all the wishes of Your Heart, and for the hopes of the whole Mystical Body. I seek it for the purification, expansion, holiness and unity of Your Church. I seek it for priests, religious and for the entire human family. I seek it for justice, love and peace; for souls in purgatory; for my own dear ones.
…Eternal God, thank You for Jesus and for the Spirit who brings Him to me and me to Him. Thank You for giving me opportunity and faith to live a Eucharistic life—for others’ benefit, and mine. I want to respond wholeheartedly to this extraordinary gift of Eucharist and Communion.
The problem with ADD is that its more than just distractions. Sometimes you zone out even without distractions. Sometimes I’m reading through the Missal and I zone out. Sometimes you intentionally concentrate and you still can’t.
Ask your guardian angel to help you stay focused.
I have been diagnosed with ADD too, though I think some of my problem also stems from my restless leg syndrome - my legs hurt so much sometimes I can’t think straight, concentrate, or sit still. The end result looks like ADD.
As long as you’re trying to stay focused, it’s not a sin. I totally understand getting sidetracked by bizarre little things though. If I see someone I know in mass, my mind will spend the next 10 minutes wandering through a maze of thoughts thinking about that person triggered.
Is there a particular part of mass where you have more trouble focusing than others? I find it easier to pay attention during the liturgy of the word, possibly because it reminds me of my old Baptist church where reading and talking about the Bible was all we did on Sunday. If you can pinpoint where you tend to get sidetracked, it might help you clamp down on wandering thoughts.
I too get distracted. My solution, get there early and get a good seat in the front pew. Then it is just you, altar servers and the priest.
I like sitting up front. I want to receive the Blood of Christ early, before anyone else has drunk out of it, or when few people have. Drinking after someone grosses me out, even if it is the Blood of Christ. Nevertheless, I am still reverent when receiving the Eucharist.
Join the club.
Being deaf aggravates the problem for me.
Yep…we’re all in the same club. We’ve just gotta work at it.
AND I really don’t believe it’s always the devil trying to distract us. Sometimes it’s just life.
Like everyone else has said, you are not alone. My spiritual director told me not to beat myself up over it. Just keep bringing your attention back to where it should be. Maybe when it happens you could offer it up for the intention of that Mass?
By the way, how do you get diagnosed?
edit: I’m not trying to pry into your personal life. I just wonder, did you go to your GP and then get referrals or something? It doesn’t have to be specific.
I’m only 18, and I was diagnosed when I was a little kid, so I don’t really know. I do, however, notice when it’s having an effect. When I don’t take my medicine, I get flakey and careless. Thus, I’m not supposed to drive without it. I may also have a lack of motivation at school or work.
This must be a universal problem! I agree with callmeChris, try closing your eyes.
I like to arrive early, pray (always eyes closed), review the day’s readings. When it is time for the readings I keep my eyes closed and listen carefully to the words. Sometimes I do this for homilies too when I feel distracted. There are also many prayers throughout the Mass where it is reverent to bow your head and close your eyes. When necessary, take a deep breath and calm yourself.
Always remember what Mass is. Follow the liturgy consciously every time. Focus on Jesus.
Another thing that helps is one of the priests at my parish is a genius and consistently gives a great homily. He takes the readings and puts them into one handy message that he names in the homily. He also gives us advice on how to live that message in this day and age. I’m sure this is how all priests do it, but this guy is a great speaker.
I totally know the feeling. I think this is common, and may not have anything to do with ADD. If you look around, you will see vacuous stares on the faces of many people there.
I felt my mind drifting while at mass for many years before I started going to the traditional mass. by following along intently in your missal throughout the mass, I find it much easier to focus. Many of the things that were added to the so-called oridnary mass could lead to distraction as well.
Wow, not only does the TLM ensure 100% belief in the Real Presence, it cures ADD as well :rolleyes:
Well, I don’t have ADD myself, but I also get distracted during Mass. A suggestion I have is why not close your eyes until the consecration? Then you can reflect inwardly on the Mass. I know the rubric well enough myself that I don’t need to see anyone to know where we are (I’m sure this is the case for everyone.)
Just close your eyes and listen until the consecration.
When one sense is blocked off, the others become stronger.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for all of us who get distracted during Mass.