Whilst out walking the dog this morning, I was listening to one of my podcasts. This is where I do a lot of my learning, “reading”, and where I get my motivations.
This one is called Catholic Stuff You Should Know, and is led by two American Priests who speak the through their homilies. The subject they covered today was Catholic Guilt. Which many of us can relate to!
And whilst guilt is a wasted emotion, they do make a point.
I often hear at the school gates “I really should get to Mass this weekend”. This normally comes out of the mouth of a stressed out parent, run ragged from a full week of school runs, carting the kids to various hobbies, and being taxi for parties and tournaments at the weekend.
So it’s no wonder they can’t be bothered to spend an hour at the weekend at Mass
I get it. I live it at the moment. So we go to Mass when it’s convenient.
In my parish there are 3 Masses at the weekend. 6pm on Saturday, 10am and 12noon on Sunday. Many will go to the 6pm one as it’s shorter, no hymns, and gets it over and done with for the Sunday. Many will go first thing Sunday to “get it over and done with”.
And the weeks where they go, they feel good. They leave with a spiritual high, and a tick off the “to-do” list for the weekend. But if they don’t go for a few weeks, the guilt sets in.
“I really should……”
For many reasons.
I need to sign my children in
The priest will start to wonder where I am
The children will be out of routine
My prayers may go unanswered
I really do get this. I have had many weekends where I haven’t gone, and really felt bad when I went back to Mass and felt like the whole parish was judging me.
“Oh look, Colette is back finally….”
(They don’t by the way, this is the Catholic guilt kicking in.)
I hear this from new clients all the time when they first see me:
I really should get to be gym more often
I really should cut down on my chocolate
I really should get out for a lunchtime walk
Yes, they should.
But when they don’t, and skip the gym for a meal out that includes a chocolate pudding and glass of wine, THAT’S when the guilt kicks in.
And it shouldn’t. Like faith, a healthy lifestyle should be about balance.
Get to church when you can. And when you are there, make it count. But don’t feel guilty for missing Mass because you are tired, busy, or just not in the mood. Because you CAN pray at home, you WILL get there again to see the priest, and NOTHING bad will happen.
To stay healthy, skip the gym occasionally, have a lazy day and eat rubbish food. But know the next day that you will balance it out with diet and exercise.
Keep a sustainable head on your shoulders when it comes to faith and health, and you won’t go far wrong.