I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which causes intestional discomfort, severe bloating, and bad diarrhea. (sorry if that is TMI–but some don’t know what IBS is).
When it acts up in a major way, I do not feel guilty for missing Mass.
However, regardless of how I am feeling, I intentionally do not go to Mass when I know that it’s going to be extremely crowded where finding parking, a seat, etc is going to be a problem–basically it’s Christmas and Easter.
Going anywhere is stressful for me because if the IBS hits, I have to find a bathroom pronto. With many places closed on Christmas/Easter–it limits my options for “pit stops”. Then, if I can’t find parking at the church, and the IBS hits, that would be a disaster. Providing I make it into the church–I have to sit on the aisle and can’t stand for the entire Mass–so if I can’t find a place to sit or stuck in the “middle” of a pew–that would be problematic if the IBS hits.
I make every effort to go/get to Mass for the most part…it’s only Christmas and Easter that I intentionally don’t go, because of the fears of the IBS hitting. I know that the stress/anxiety of it happening does contribute to it happening, but about parking, crowdedness, and lack of pit stops makes me to fearful to leave my home.
My reason for not going to Mass is solely due to the IBS. I’ve tried to control my IBS–and have gotten better by eliminating wheat/gluten, dairy, egg, and soy from my diet. I do not stress out as much as I used to…but traveling anywhere by car produces stress that I haven’t been able to control. I don’t go to concerts, movies, etc. for the same reason–it’s not just Mass. I avoid freeways (traffic), crowded malls, etc and so crowded Mass/church is part of that.
I want to know if me not going to Mass, given my IBS, would be considered a sin? I suffered from depression (still do) for many more years beyond the IBS–and I still went to Mass with the depression. But the IBS interferes with my life in a more physical manner.
I hope I am making sense.