Thank you all for the answers that you’ve given. Your personal reflections have caused me to think about things all the more, and I really appreciate the openness with which you replied.
Perhaps it may have been surmised, but I asked the original question on behalf of myself, because this has been my experience. Of course there are always highs and lows, but I believe my inability to truly participate in the mass has deeper roots than mere attention span.
For many years of my life I attended mass and received communion while conscious of mortal sin. I went for show, to maintain a way of life that I knew was expected of me, and because I didn’t want to be seen as somehow more fallen than I was truly. However, shame can be a helpful feeling. I would make an effort to go to confession prior to communion if I had the stain of mortal sin on my soul. Yet shame without discipline is a feeble ally.
The frequency of mortal sin is definitively waning – more due to maturity than to sincere contrition; though the latter stirs more frequently.
I often wonder if my ability to enter into the mass, and subsequently to love God, has been so utterly tarnished by the repeated abuse and sacrilege, that nothing short of God (when is it ever anything but God?) can repair it?
I think, ultimately, it comes down to a question of preparedness. To quote a favorite song of mine, “Don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds”, I think this applies to my life. What sort of life am I trying to cultivate? What fields am I grooming to receive the word of our Lord? Poor fields thus far.
In one of my classes, we read Animal Farm by George Orwell. I am reminded of the scene where Napoleon fills all the food troughs with sand, and then the top most layer with seed in order to give the impression of plenty.
I think that is an apt caption for much of my devout life: “The image of plenty, the lack of substance”.
Prayers would be appreciated! I would like to imagine that I’ll someday hear the footfalls of the Hound of Heaven chasing after me.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.