Missing Mass for Long Periods Due to Mental and Physical Disabilities


#1

Hi Guys:

I asked this on "Ask an Apologist", but didn't get a reply. I understand they're swamped so I thought I would ask here.

I have many physical disabilities including a bad back, arthritis, oxygen dependance and a lot of other stuff that makes me hurt. I also have bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder and, even through I am under treatment, my normal mood is pretty depressed and I am very uncomfortable in crowds.

The problem comes in attending mass. All week I am excited it's coming and want to go, but then when the morning gets here and I am in pain and start thinking about taking a bath, shaving, and getting dressed and then going to sit in a crowd the whole thing seems overwhelming. My psychiatrist and psychologist both say the symptom of feeling day to day tasks are indeed too big to tackle is from the depression. Now the thing is sometimes after I have been up a good long while and take my pain killers and psych meds. I do feel like going and this is usually through the week. There is a large parish near me that has daily mass at noon and there is room to spread out so it doesn't feel so dense and I am comfortable during the week when it isn't well attended. There is also a large Catholic "center", for lack of a better word, that has services through the week at like 7:00pm some days that I can sometimes get to. The thing is I never go because I am afraid missing mass Sunday was mortal sin and I couldn't take communion. Do you think what I have described would be sinful or could I take communion through the week if it does feel like just too much on the weekend? I really feel like I am drifting away not being able to go or partake of the Lord. Sometimes it's months before I can go on a Sunday.

I am sorry if this sounds silly. I can't judge myself as I tend to scrupulosity. I am going down to The Cathedral Monday or Tuesday for confession in case I can muster up the courage to go Ash Wednesday. I do have sins to confess that I know I must before I receive. :blush:


#2

The Precepts of Holy Church, like the Commandments, do not ask for what is impossible :) If you cannot make it to Holy Mass for medical reasons, then the best idea would be to speak to a priest and he'd probably tell you either that it's ok to perhaps watch it on TV or online, or give you some sort of dispensation.

I know that there are ways to receive the Holy Eucharist at home for medical reasons. Perhaps you can also talk to the priest about this option.

It doesn't sound silly, it sounds full of love for Christ and His Church. I hope you can talk to a priest soon and receive the Holy Eucharist shortly - if you long with great love for Christ, imagine just how much He longs to dwell in your heart - that is, in the consecrated host, for God obviously already dwells in your heart.

Please, pray for us.


#3

[quote="R_C, post:2, topic:314310"]
The Precepts of Holy Church, like the Commandments, do not ask for what is impossible :) If you cannot make it to Holy Mass for medical reasons, then the best idea would be to speak to a priest and he'd probably tell you either that it's ok to perhaps watch it on TV or online, or give you some sort of dispensation.

I know that there are ways to receive the Holy Eucharist at home for medical reasons. Perhaps you can also talk to the priest about this option.

It doesn't sound silly, it sounds full of love for Christ and His Church. I hope you can talk to a priest soon and receive the Holy Eucharist shortly - if you long with great love for Christ, imagine just how much He longs to dwell in your heart - that is, in the consecrated host, for God obviously already dwells in your heart.

Please, pray for us.

[/quote]

I had surgery on one of my feet at the end of January, 2013 and as a result I have been unable to attend Mass. I certainly miss not receiving the Eucharist and look forward to the beginning of March when I can attend again for that's when the doctor says my recovery should be complete.


#4

If you can not attend Mass, remember - hunger for the Lord can be efficacious as well.....


#5

talk to your priest


#6

The reason I haven't talked to my priest is that he is old, is always busy, and looks like he is barely making it. Once or twice I have made appointments to speak on other matters that were important and it was a big rigamarole to get in. He is just so busy. It's such a large parish and he's just one poor old guy trying to do his best. He is so busy, especially this time of year.


#7

Dear brother,
What if you showered and shaved the night before, so all you had to do was dress to attend mass?
If you really try to go and can't face the crowds, what I would do is count it as an illness, not a sin. We are not obligated to go if we are ill.
Then you could go on a weekday and participate in the Eucharist.
I hope that when you go to the cathedral for confession you will bring this up to the priest.


#8

Bill... don't beat yourself up about it.

You have a valid reason for not going to Mass: you're simply unwell. Remember that 'unwell' need not be a visible ailment.

It seems to me that your scruples are causing you to accuse yourself of a failure where none exists and this itself may be exacerbating your depression. You need to be charitable with yourself and give yourself some peace.

As for practical measures: if you find the thought of a crowded Sunday Mass overwhelming, then try to attend a weekday one instead when there will be a lot less people about. It may be shorter (no second reading, creed, etc) but I've often found weekday Masses to be more spiritually uplifting as there's more time for quiet contemplation in an environment that's more peaceful than busy bustling weekends.

If you can make it on a weekday you should be able to get five minutes with your priest to talk to him. Remember that even if you haven't made it to confession, you can still attend the Mass if you don't want to take Communion. Many people do. Nobody will see you as anything other than someone who has come to experience the Peace of Christ.

Our Lord only wants you to do what you can, not what is impossible or agonising for you. He loves you very much, especially in the midst of your illness, and wants nothing more than to embrace you in as much a way as you can tolerate.


#9

I have found that trying to talk to a priest in his office is way too stressful to set up, let alone to actually overcome my anxiety and talk. I find it works better to talk to the priest in confession.

When I am at home and not so anxious, I write things down on an index card. I might write down a particular question that is bothering me. If all I can do is read the card in confession, it still works. I see it as an act of humility and an act of faith in Jesus in the Sacrament.

You have a particular question which is causing you a lot of distress. Take that question to confession -- maybe even print out what you have written here. During confession, write down what the priest says -- remembering that it is Jesus talking to you! Write it down so that you can refer to it later.

The evil one wants us to be afraid and agitated. Take that stuff he accuses you of to confession -- Jesus is there to help you carry this cross.

May Christ's peace be with you.


#10

[quote="Viola_Incognita, post:9, topic:314310"]
I have found that trying to talk to a priest in his office is way too stressful to set up, let alone to actually overcome my anxiety and talk. I find it works better to talk to the priest in confession.

When I am at home and not so anxious, I write things down on an index card. I might write down a particular question that is bothering me. If all I can do is read the card in confession, it still works. I see it as an act of humility and an act of faith in Jesus in the Sacrament.

You have a particular question which is causing you a lot of distress. Take that question to confession -- maybe even print out what you have written here. During confession, write down what the priest says -- remembering that it is Jesus talking to you! Write it down so that you can refer to it later.

The evil one wants us to be afraid and agitated. Take that stuff he accuses you of to confession -- Jesus is there to help you carry this cross.

May Christ's peace be with you.

[/quote]

I have a problem with this in that my hands tremble so badly I often can't write. Hand writing is torture for me.:o


#11

Mornings have always not been my time of the day. I always prefer the Saturday night vigil mass. I sounds like by the later part of the day you are feeling more ready for the interaction required for the obligation of mass. Is it possible to attend the Saturday vigil?


#12

[quote="JK61, post:11, topic:314310"]
Mornings have always not been my time of the day. I always prefer the Saturday night vigil mass. I sounds like by the later part of the day you are feeling more ready for the interaction required for the obligation of mass. Is it possible to attend the Saturday vigil?

[/quote]

Actually our parish has two Saturday vigils. But I still have to wait til my foot heals.


#13

Actually sometimes I do get to go on Saturday Vigil, but then again I run into the same problem of the crowd. I am going to confession tomorrow, and I even found a place that has it on Tuesday that I can use as a fail safe in case I am not up to it tomorrow. It's at the retreat center I wrote about earlier. They do have huge crowds for mass, but the place is so enormous I can sit towards the back and not feel crowded because it really spreads out back in the back half. I have often wondered about that. Something tells me there are a lot more people who don't like to feel crowded than one might think, otherwise it would consolidate more towards the front. In any case I get to go to confession and then mass at least one day. WHOOP WHOOP! :thumbsup: They have mass times at the retreat center and at the Cathedral after confession. I'll see what the priest tells me in confession about Sundays. I am pretty sure though he is going to say what you guys have said. As a matter of fact at the retreat center they are going to have a healing service and mass Wednesday. I just checked their calender. That certainly sounds like something I should look into. Of course I will try to get to regular Ash Wednesday mass at my parish at noon Wednesday. It should be least crowded then as opposed to the early morning, which mornings are bad for me and my body anyway, and the 7:00PM mass.


#14

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