Okay, confession time: I don’t always want to go to Mass.
I know, I let it slip in the title but I think this is important enough to discuss.
This may come as a shocking revelation especially to those that know me very well.
Anyone would be able to tell you how much I love worshipping God and how much joy Mass brings me.
I love the Mass.
I love the Eucharist.
I love everything about the Liturgy
I love knowing that at Mass the Heavens open up and we are worshipping with all believers and saints throughout history.
I love singing hymns and songs of praise.
In short, I love being Catholic.
However, I don’t always feel like getting up and going to do the one thing that brings me the most joy in life.
We all have those moments when our beds are much too soft, warm, and comfortable and the last thing we want to do is leave our carefully constructed cocoon of sleep to break out into the cold, harsh world on a Sunday morning. This happens to me far too often, especially when I should be headed to Mass.
There are Sundays when my endless to-do list seems more pressing than sitting in a church listening to a homily I will probably end up forgetting or zoning out when the lecter goes through the readings. I get so wrapped up in what’s going on in my life that I forget Christ and how he has already given everything for me. I should do the same for him.
Clearly, I’m not a perfect Catholic.
Rather than feeling sorry for myself for having to struggle with this lack of enthusiasm, I realize that I am still a work in progress. God is not done with me yet. I hope that all of us have the knowledge to know that we are all struggling with our own inabilities and doubts.
None of us are perfect, although we wish to be, and so we need to learn to deal with these feelings headfirst.
Rather than feeling sorry for myself for having to struggle with this lack of enthusiasm, I realize that I am still a work in progress. God is not done with me yet. I hope that all of us have the knowledge to know that we are all struggling with our own inabilities and doubts. None of us are perfect, although we wish to be, and so we need to learn to deal with these feelings headfirst.
This spiritual malaise is exactly the thing that so many saints have warned us about, and it’s a common enough ill that all of us should be aware of it. Our disregard of all that is Holy and Good in the Mass is a sign that our hearts are being tempted by the world and the Father of Lies. Maybe we’ll be happier if we get our to-do list complete or get just 30 minute extra of sleep, we tell ourselves.
As much as we’d like to believe these lies, these feelings are exactly that- lies.
My apathy towards Mass actually started at the beginning of my conversion. As a convert from a secular family, with next to no Church friends, I always had to go to Mass by myself. Mass wasn’t a time that I could share with my friends or loved ones, so I often felt alone. Sitting all by myself in the pews made me feel like a pariah. While there were happy families hugging and kissing each other during the sign of peace, I awkwardly shook hands and waved to strangers around me; completely aware of my status as the lonely girl with no family or friends.
I knew that God’s perfect Love in the Eucharist could not compare with anything else but I still felt sadness over being the solitary girl on a Sunday morning. There’s something very isolating about being alone in a place where families congregate and where so much love and joy is being expressed as a community.
Often times my fear gets the best of me. Despite being in the Church for more than 7 years, I still feel so self-conscious about walking into Mass by myself and sitting alone. I feel like there’s a club that I will never belong to.
With all of this in mind, I am reminded of a wise saying from a dear priest I met years ago. He said, “When you don’t feel like going to Mass, that’s precisely when it’s most important for you to go”. I’ve found that this advice is especially true for me.
Every time I’ve felt that creeping disregard for my Sunday Obligation, I know that it’s when I most need Jesus in the Eucharist. So, I go with my cloud hanging over me.
We have to know that our spiritual life is not based on a feeling but on a commitment of love. Then the question becomes: Are we more committed to God than to our own feelings?
I may not always feel like going to Mass but I have enough discipline to do what is most necessary even when I don’t want to do it.
This is truly the very beginning of the spiritual life, if God is able to give me the strength to worship him and love him, even when I don’t want to, I know that he has me in the palm of his hands.
So despite my to-do list, despite my apathy, despite my fear, I dredge along and force myself to go to Mass.
I can tell you, I’ve never once regretted it.
What do you guys do when fighting against this temptation?
Let me know in the comments!