Is going to Mass for the first time in 28 years a good idea when ...(18 Posts)
I am going through depression at the moment and just feel the need for comfort and community. Isolation is part of my problems. I wouldn't take communion as I haven't confessed for 28 years either. I might never go to Mass again. Sorry, I'm not making much sense but I am not feeling much clarity at the moment. I want to feel a sense of something bigger than me to help me put my problems into perspective. It feels like going back to faith might help. Would it be a good idea?
The short answer is:"yes".
A slightly longer answer: we all need God, whether we acknowledge it or not. If you feel hunger you eat. If you are thirsty you drink.
If you are hungry and thirsty spiritually you come to the source of all goodness: Jesus Christ.
Going to confession, taking communion or not as the case may be, they are all man-made rules and regulations.
The desire you feel to go to church comes from God Himself and you will find a great peace when you answer it.
Why not try it and see? Only possible negative i can think of is if it is likely to make you feel worse? (I've known some Catholics who've really struggled with guilt, don't know whether that's the case for you). Maybe look online and see if you can find a church that looks welcoming?
Hope you find what you need very soon.
I take great comfort from the familiarity of the Mass. I love the hymns and the familiar phrases of the prayers. The format hasn't changed since I was small and I get to spend an hour a week in an atmosphere of relative peace and tranquility - it is good for the soul
If you are Catholic then be aware that some if the responses and the Gloria and the Creed have slightly different words. Just grab a Mass book or leaflet and mumble along - it is what the rest of the congregation do.
I always find mass a huge help when I am going through it. I especially concentrate on the bit in the Lord's Prayer where the priest prays to protect us from all anxiety.
It would probably be worth trying to go with someone if you can. Do you have any friends who are practising Catholics? If so I am sure they would love to take you with them. If not could you ask the Priest or Parish Office if they could arrange for someone to meet you. You could benefit from both spirituality and community that way.
You don't need to go the whole hog confession and communion to start with. Just see how it goes, you may wish to try different churches to find the one with the right feel for you.
Hope it works out for you. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for responding. I appreciate it greatly. I am a Catholic and I have struggled with some guilt which is partly why I have avoided Mass for so long. My early experiences of Catholicism and faith were quite alienating. However, I feel that my problems have been with the "man-made" aspects of things like you say Dutchoma and now I am resolved that they shouldn't get in the way of my connection with God.
There are two Catholic Churches near to me. I don't know anybody who attends either but I think I would feel comfortable going in alone initially.
My DH is a Catholic and goes to Mass frequently although not always on Sundays. He's 50 and hasn't been to confession since he was a teenager. He takes communion every time he goes, apparently having to go to confession is not a necessity for most Catholics now. I don't know any of my RC friends who go to confession.
I hope you find the spiritual peace and support you are seeking.
Thank you lifeisontheup.
What were your early bad experiences? We're you sexually abused within the faith?
Hello yougotbale. No I wasn't sexually abused. I really hope I didn't give that impression.
I found it alienating because the focus was never on God's love, more on his anger. I grew up thinking that everything I did was watched and judged and that I was always going to be found wanting.
My family went to Church because they had to, because their parents and their parents parents did. There was nothing more to it than duty with the rules of the church (no communion without confession) given more weight than that connection to God. Going to Church and any interaction with our faith was largely a joyless and punishing experience. By the age of 16 I voted with my feet.
That is so understandable, susan. There are still churches around with that ambiance, avoid them like the plague. There are also churches of any denomination that will make it clear that there is nothing that can make God love you more and nothing that you can do to make God love you less. He thinks you are the best, made in His own image and just right. Any church that does not reinforce that is not worth attending. Keep looking till you find one.
I found going to church very helpful when I had depression. I didn't participate much - just enjoyed hearing the singing, and I prayed hard for help. My faith has changed greatly from the punishing God I believed in when I was a child that I would never be good enough for, to the God who loved me when I was at my most lost. I'm not keen on dogma, but I still go to church.
I think the Catholic experience has changed a lot. If you asked my children their views, I don't think they would mention retribution or guilt.
I find Mass really therapeutic, just a peaceful hour. I find my children go in arsey and come out serene! Half the time my mind wanders & I couldn't recount the Gospel ten minutes later. We always take communion and never go to confession. The same is true of almost all the Catholics we know.
I hope you go and get something out of it.
Thank you becs and everybody who has responded.
That is so interesting and comforting to hear puffy. I felt sure things would have moved on but when an experience is so deeply ingrained it seems hard to question old beliefs. I am starrting to feel more positive about going back to Mass and less apprehensive.
Sorry to hear about the depression. I hope you're getting support for that at the moment. Regarding going back to church I'm sure you'll find some peace there.I hope you find a nice supportive community.
One thing I've recently discovered and I like listening to everyday is this online daily prayer by the Jesuits. www.pray-as-you-go.org You can download it or listen to it from the website. Basically- Its a bit of music, a reading and then some suggestions about the reading which are nice and thought provoking. Each one is about 10 minutes.
PS I've never been to confession but have been to communion zillions of times.
Please do try to go. You don't need to take any kind of active part - just absorb the peace. I don 't think there's any need for guilt about your absence! I doubt God minds!
I would just add that confession seems to have really changed in the last few years. I hadn't been for donkey's, and then I went when my son did his first confession ready for his 1st communion. It's now called the sacrament of reconciliation and the emphasis is very much on forgiveness. I found myself weeping during my confession and I felt much better afterwards. The priests didn't even give me (or my son!) any penance. 'twas most odd but in a really good way.
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