"Nodding off" during homily?


#1

My husband closes his eyes and usually nods off during the homily at Mass, and my nudging him doesn't help him to open his eyes. Sometimes he is almost pretty sound asleep sitting up. Doesn't seem to make a difference whether we're at a morning or evening Mass, and it gets embarrassing for me since others can plainly see.

I was especially saddened recently when it happened because the homily was about the very important need for everyone to utilize the sacrament of Reconciliation (which he doesn't do and doesn't believe is necessary, although he still receives Holy Communion).

If I ever try to mention the sleeping or the sacrament of Confession, he just digs his heels in deeper and gets angry and won't discuss it calmly any further. It's not a health issue because he never falls asleep sitting straight up like that at any other time, and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference which Priest is speaking or Church we're at.

Does anyone have any suggestions or info that might help? Thanks.


#2

Does he work long hours? Have a lot of stress?

C'mon, be charitable here! Your husband is a human being, and humans tend to fall asleep when things are quiet and peaceful.

A few weeks ago, after a hard work week and a harder family week, I fell asleep during the homily. (I'm a 53 year-old woman.) I usually don't fall asleep during homilies, but the church was so quiet (reverent!), and the lights were just a little dim (reverent!) and everyone was quiet and the hymns were quiet and the priest's voice was so quiet and soothing and peaceful--I won't apologize for falling asleep! It was my body's natural reaction to being over-tired and stressed out.

The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of waking up your husband and convicting him about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The more you push your husband and "remind" him of the importance of this Sacrament, the more your husband will dig in his heels and resist. Just back off. Trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in His time.

And don't criticize your husband for being a human man who falls asleep under quiet, peaceful conditions. It's like trying to criticize someone for getting gas after eating beans--it happens.


#3

I find I usually concentrate better on Mass and the Homily with my eyes closed. I’ve drifted off more than once during the Homily. It’s not planned or wanted, it just happens. I figure my body is telling me something.


#4

I’ve even seen priests nod off while someone else was preaching. It’s human.

Cut your dh some slack!

It’s part of having a human body!

ICXC NIKA.


#5

This has happened to me more than I would like to admit :) There is a soothing quality to hearing the homily that sometimes makes it very hard not to nod off. I wouldn't badger him about it, a lot of people feel more serene at mass than anywhere else.

This is probably not a conscious choice he is making. I fall asleep at conferences routinely as well, especially when they dim the lights to give a powerpoint presentation! They are important events with valuable information, and yet I still find my head drooping...


#6

But I do get the OPs point. If her husband is doing it most of the time, not just on occasion, I understand her not being happy about it.

Would it help to sit in front? And maybe more importantly, does he sleep well?

My priest pours out his heart in his homilies. He chooses every word carefully. From my daughter’s position in the choir, I learned that people fall asleep at every Mass. That must be difficult for a priest to see. Our priest gives the best and most life-changing homilies I’ve ever heard, so it surprised me that this happens.

I do get it happening on occasion. Everyone has their days where to sit is to sleep! But frequent sleeping…it sounds like he’s automatically tuning out the priest. And though the Holy Spirit could wake him, maybe Satan has something to do with him sleeping.

Have you expressed your concern? Does he care? If he doesn’t, I’m not sure there’s anything you can do except try to listen well yourself and try not to be annoyed (if you are).


#7

Easy- I would tell him that until he can start to be more reverant at mass (if it was accidental, he wouldn’t be so defensive about it), that I would be attending mass without him.

Also, receiving communion in a state of mortal sin is a grave sin. I would sit down and calmly discuss this with him as well. If he wants to continue to stand by his disbelief in confession and it’s importance, then he is probably not believing in the soul and divinity of Jesus is the Eucharist either. I would arrange for a meeting with your priest in regards to this aspect- maybe he can meet with your husband (he may have just had bad catechesis).

Don’t know it this helps, but I understand your dilema.


#8

I have heard it said that people get what they need from Mass.

Apparently your husband needs sleep :shrug:


#9

[quote="Incomplete, post:6, topic:235650"]
But I do get the OPs point. If her husband is doing it most of the time, not just on occasion, I understand her not being happy about it.

Would it help to sit in front? And maybe more importantly, does he sleep well?

My priest pours out his heart in his homilies. He chooses every word carefully. From my daughter's position in the choir, I learned that people fall asleep at every Mass. That must be difficult for a priest to see. Our priest gives the best and most life-changing homilies I've ever heard, so it surprised me that this happens.

I do get it happening on occasion. Everyone has their days where to sit is to sleep! But frequent sleeping...it sounds like he's automatically tuning out the priest. And though the Holy Spirit could wake him, maybe Satan has something to do with him sleeping.

Have you expressed your concern? Does he care? If he doesn't, I'm not sure there's anything you can do except try to listen well yourself and try not to be annoyed (if you are).

[/quote]

Thank you so much to everyone for your input.

He works an average amount of hours each week, and he does sleep well most of the time.

We tried sitting closer to the front of the Church, but that didn't help either. I just felt more embarrassed because the Priest himself could clearly see his eyes shut from that close. He nods off during the homily more often than not - about 8 out of 10 times we go to Mass - for the past few years, and he doesn't care that it happens. Once he even joked when we were getting ready to leave for Mass that he "could use a good nap" there.

I've tried to express my concern as gently as I can about this as well as the Confession issue, but it only makes matters worse. I have often thought of doing as Kaizmom suggests and going without him until he can be more reverent, but I could never bring myself to do it because I've felt like satan would be happier if he weren't at Mass at all. He also will often cross his arms defensively in front of his chest during a good part of the Mass in a gesture which seems to me like he is tuning out what's being said and doesn't agree with much of it (but maybe that's just my imagination in interpreting it).

I've read that it's a duty of a spouse to try to assist the other in becoming closer to God and getting to Heaven, but I'm confused about how much to try when nothing seems to work and often only makes it worse. I keep praying for him - more so for the Confession issue than the sleeping.

Unfortunately he would never consider going with me to a Priest about this or anything of a personal nature. I've tried to get him to go about another prior issue in our marriage, but he refuses. He feels he can do no wrong, has no serious sins that would ever require Confession, and his opinion is always right.

God bless you all for your suggestions - I appreciate them!


#10

I remember when I was little it seemed like most of the men were nodding in chuch. Anyway, up until a few weeks ago I hadn't seen that in a long time..brought me right back to being a little kid, it was a very nice feeling


#11

*Unfortunately he would never consider going with me to a Priest about this or anything of a personal nature. I've tried to get him to go about another prior issue in our marriage, but he refuses. He feels he can do no wrong, has no serious sins that would ever require Confession, and his opinion is always right. *

If he won't go with you, go to the priest ALONE and ask for help. Satan is already present with him at the mass if he is shutting things off, turning his back on Christ's very vicar (the priest) and refusing the sacraments. After all, are you helping him more by 1)dragging him to mass when he is "turned off" as to the wonderful mystery around him or 2) by reinforcing YOUR love and reverence for God by attending the mass alone. He already knows that this behavior bothers you, yet he isn't respecting God or you by his behavior. So who is he respecting? Himself? That doesn't seem very Godly either. Seems like Satan is pretty happy shutting your husband AND you down. See your priest and see what he suggests!

Samantha


#12

[quote="bmaj, post:9, topic:235650"]
Thank you so much to everyone for your input.

He works an average amount of hours each week, and he does sleep well most of the time.

We tried sitting closer to the front of the Church, but that didn't help either. I just felt more embarrassed because the Priest himself could clearly see his eyes shut from that close. He nods off during the homily more often than not - about 8 out of 10 times we go to Mass - for the past few years, and he doesn't care that it happens. Once he even joked when we were getting ready to leave for Mass that he "could use a good nap" there.

I've tried to express my concern as gently as I can about this as well as the Confession issue, but it only makes matters worse. I have often thought of doing as Kaizmom suggests and going without him until he can be more reverent, but I could never bring myself to do it because I've felt like satan would be happier if he weren't at Mass at all. He also will often cross his arms defensively in front of his chest during a good part of the Mass in a gesture which seems to me like he is tuning out what's being said and doesn't agree with much of it (but maybe that's just my imagination in interpreting it).

I've read that it's a duty of a spouse to try to assist the other in becoming closer to God and getting to Heaven, but I'm confused about how much to try when nothing seems to work and often only makes it worse. I keep praying for him - more so for the Confession issue than the sleeping.

Unfortunately he would never consider going with me to a Priest about this or anything of a personal nature. I've tried to get him to go about another prior issue in our marriage, but he refuses. He feels he can do no wrong, has no serious sins that would ever require Confession, and his opinion is always right.

God bless you all for your suggestions - I appreciate them!

[/quote]

I would agree that he should continue to attend Mass with you.

But maybe instead of worrying about respect at Mass for now, is there any way you could talk more about prayer? Would he have any interest in a prayer life (or increasing it if he has one?) My priest has talked in the past about this, and I think he's right. If he speaks regularly to God in prayer, eventually he may desire more of a relationship with Him and the rest will come.

Maybe, for your birthday or Christmas or anniversary, you could tell him you'd like him to pray for, say, 10 minutes a day for a couple of weeks (or add 10 minutes to whatever he's doing.) Just a thought.

And if not, do what you're doing. Pray. I've seen some people come to the Church that surprised me tons, but it can take years. Your husband could grow in desire over time with your prayers.


#13

I can tell you that not you nor a priest nor even the Pope could change the heart of your husband. If you try to do so then you will just push him further away from the sacraments and the Church. The only person who can change your husband’s heart is the third person of the Blessed Trinity. Pray the rosary daily for your husband that he be filled with the Holy Spirit and I promise there will be a change. It may not happen tomorrow, next week, month, or year but it will happen eventually. God bless


#14

well this gives you your direction, you know what does not work
he is an adult.
let it alone.

ps, I am not nodding off, I am deep in contempletive prayer (should you ever wander into our church and wonder). I also usually confess to another priest when at the monastery so there may be parishioners who think I don’t go to confession.


#15

[quote="Kaizmom, post:7, topic:235650"]
Easy- I would tell him that until he can start to be more reverant at mass (if it was accidental, he wouldn't be so defensive about it), that I would be attending mass without him.

[/quote]

Just a guess here, but I bet this isn't going to break his heart.

[quote="MtnDwellar, post:8, topic:235650"]
I have heard it said that people get what they need from Mass.

Apparently your husband needs sleep :shrug:

[/quote]

:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:


#16

I always close my eyes during the homily. It helps me to concentrate instead of being distracted by other parishioners, the birds outside, the cute baby a few rows up...you get the idea. lol Anyway, I have also fallen asleep. If my husband had told me that I should be more reverant at Mass or that I shouldn't come if I can't stay awake, I would be hurt and angry. Instead of continuing to bring this up to him, which is clearly not working, just offer prayers for him during the Consecration and ask St. Monica to pray for him. Give this one to God.


#17

Years ago, in my early teens, I used to doze off during the homily pretty regularly. It hasn’t happened on a regular basis in many years, but I did doze off during Midnight Mass a few Christmases ago (I hadn’t slept in several days, fell asleep on my feet and fell into the person in front of me), and then again about a year ago when we had a visiting priest. He was very old, very quiet . . . and . . . ve . . . ry . . . sl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ow. I had worked the night before and went straight to Mass from work. About 20 minutes into his homily (at a simple Mass that normally would only last 30 minutes), I didn’t just doze but fell fast asleep. When my wife elbowed me she told me that I’d begun to snore (I wasn’t alone in this). Luckily, she didn’t see that I’d been drooling as well. :blush:

Our current priest gives wonderful and wonderfully short homilies. He seldom goes more than 5 minutes, but always delivers a great message. He doesn’t give the opportunity or any real reason to doze. We did have this issue with my son at one point and I would give him a gentle squeeze on the shoulder when I noticed it happening. Have you tried holding your husband’s hand during the homily and giving the occasional squeeze, or maybe a light tap on the knee? It could be that the occasional light prompting may help keep him focused, or at least awake during the homilies.


#18

[quote="Kaizmom, post:7, topic:235650"]
Easy- I would tell him that until he can start to be more reverant at mass (if it was accidental, he wouldn't be so defensive about it), that I would be attending mass without him.

Also, receiving communion in a state of mortal sin is a grave sin. I would sit down and calmly discuss this with him as well. If he wants to continue to stand by his disbelief in confession and it's importance, then he is probably not believing in the soul and divinity of Jesus is the Eucharist either. I would arrange for a meeting with your priest in regards to this aspect- maybe he can meet with your husband (he may have just had bad catechesis).

Don't know it this helps, but I understand your dilema.

[/quote]

I disagree vehemently with this advice. He should go to mass with you. And he should receive the Eucharist.

He is not the first person to find homilies boring. And he is certinaly not the first catholic to question to value of confession (if this was a mortal sin, heaven would be a lonely place). But all catholics are called to weekly mass, and reception of the Eucharist is invaluable. Do not discourage these aspects of the practice of the faith simply because he falls down in others. I think that you should encourage his attendance at mass, encourage his reception of the Eucharist, and pray for him.

If you want to sit down and discuss things with him, perhaps taking the approach of pointing out his sin is what makes him defensive. Instead, try enquiring why he sleeps, and why he doesn't think confession is worthwhile. Try to understand his viewpoint, rather than shame him into changing his ways. Perhaps the homilies at your church don't speak to him much. Perhaps he has stresses in other parts of his life that make focusing on God and his faith difficult right now. If you try to understand his point of view, he is more likely to be open to hearing yours.


#19

Sorry, but this man is an adult and he does it time and time again? That is just plain disrespectful. I am surprised that some of you don't think the op should say anything to him? :shrug:


#20

she has already said it. Many times. Over and over. with no result.
now she should let it go. her present tactic is not working. She will have to find another way, preferably by herself being the best example of a joyful committed Catholic.


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