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LouisianaCatholic

A Good Mass Experience

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LouisianaCatholic
Hello.

I am an on and off again church goer. I have had a hard time being spiritual or religious. I went to Catholic school for 12 years and my family is Catholic, but my mother and father stopped going to church when I was around 6 or 7.

I am now in college and trying to be a better Catholic. I still feel as though I am at odds with some important aspects of Catholicism and am trying to rectify those things within myself. Sometimes when I go to mass and recite things such as the Creed, I feel kind of silly as if I don't believe what I am saying, even though i am trying to.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can improve my spiritual experience in mass?

Thanks,
Sarabeth

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tinytherese
Don't worry friend, you are definitely not alone. A lot of fellow Catholics feel this way and experience these same things. I commend you for stepping up and asking for help.

As far as the mass goes check out this book called, "Do I Have To Go?" by Matthew Pinto and Chris Stephanik (if I spelled his name correctly.) It's filled with lots of questions that people have about the mass, belief in the eucharist, and one's spirituality in relation to the mass that these authors answer in an easy to understand way but do not dumb it down like you are five years old.

Another helpful book that I know of is "Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?" It's yet another question and answer book very much like the previous one. You'll find answers to a lot of things such as the pope, Mary, the saints, spirituality, Catholic morality, etc. I don't know what issues that you're struggling with but this is a great place to start. It includes references to scripture, the catechism, and other helpful resources that point you to why the church does what it does and God's plan for your life.

I've also heard great things about the sequel to the book called, "Did Jesus Have a Last Name?"

These books are not those overtly scholarly type but they do provide you with solid answers and references for you to further study if interested. They're technically geared towards teens but they really are for teens on up.

Find a priest or someone at your parish that you trust to talk to about your concerns.

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philothea
Like tinytherese said, these feelings aren't at all unusual.

It might help to realize that your faith is more what you [i]do[/i] than how you [i]feel[/i], and decisions about what you really believe are the realm of your intellect.

If someone never thought, "Wow, this is pretty wacky, I wonder how it can be true?" about all the claims of Christianity, I'd wonder if they were paying attention! It's good to think about the basics of the faith, and not just close your eyes and hope it all starts to feel acceptable.

There is plenty of evidence, and, yes, sometimes you have to go with faith in the darkness, but thinking is not a bad thing! Ask questions, and find the answers. The Church is astonishingly well-tested and documented. There are good, solid reasons behind everything, but sometimes you have to look. Ask here, or try the books recommended above.

As for a better mass experience... pay attention to Jesus's presence in the tabernacle. Pray for help to see, understand, and believe what is happening during the mass. If people are distracting you, try to sit close to the front. Listen to the readings, and see if you can apply them to what is currently happening to you in your life. Arrive a little early. Stay a little after everyone has left.

If you haven't been to confession in a while, you might want to consider that. It can be very liberating.

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running the race
About a year ago I noticed that I was becoming easily distracted during Mass. Somebody suggested that I pray through the readings before Mass. I have been doing this now for almost a year, and it has helped me tremendously. You can also find commentaries on the readings in a variety of places online (I believe one is posted somewhere in the phorums). Hopefully this will help you in your journey!

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Balthazor
Though I love to go, and I cherish the gift of Mass, I admit that there are days when I feel that attending Mass is a chore and I do not want to do it.

I have had two things that have helped me.
The first is that Mass is not always so much what you get out of it... but rather what you bring to it. This means bringing my troubles and leaving them there. Strange, but it works.


Aside from that I think of duty. Not the holiest of thoughts but there are many days that I have not wanted to go to work and I go anyway. And for what? Money. Eight hours a day.
Or when I did not want to go to class.... but I went anyway. Mass is one hour a week. That is all and when I put it into perspective of how much time I spend at other activities like :work, school, or watching TV. It seems such a small sacrifice.

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