I would like to expose some of my issues related to my life of faith in the hope to receive some advice from you.
I have always been a believer and nearly always a practicing believer; I have strayed a little from the right path around the age of 25/30 but then I tried to go back to respect all Commandments and regularly receive the Sacraments.
However, I suffer from the fact that I cannot see God and, maybe because of that too, I cannot communicate it to others.
I feel that, compared to when I was a child, it is much more difficult to grasp the presence of God also in the liturgy.
For example, in the church that I currently attend, hardly anyone kneels during the Consecration. To be honest, the priest does not care about it; it seems to be only my problem. I kneel but cannot find the necessary concentration to pray because I am quite embarrassed by the fact that I am doing something different from others. (Besides this, sometimes I forget to kneel because I do not have people to follow and I have to understand by myself when is the right moment .).
The same thing occurs as I kneel after the Communion, also in that case I feel weird and cannot talk to God because I often have to pay attention to the hair and scarves of people, who are sitting “flabby” on the bench in front of mine…
I am very sorry for saying this because I feel there is not much Christian charity in me: indeed, the’ behavior of others annoys me and I have the impression of leaving the Mass worse than before I entered…
This morning, on a working day, I entered the church to stay there for 5 minutes (this was my intention) but I resisted for 30 seconds maybe because the morning Mass had just ended so there were some people in the church chatting amiably… For goodness sake, they were just done with their holy service so in a sense they were not doing anything wrong.
However, once again my hope of gathering myself in prayer was thwarted and so I left upset.
How can I find God inside myself also when it is difficult externally? I know that if I really had faith, I would not have any difficulties in gathering myself in any situation!
This led me to another doubt: my struggle with praying may be indication that I am not in a state of grace? I have always had this fear as I remember details related to things I have already said in confession and do not know whether to say them as they alter the gravity of sin or can be omitted and considered as scruples.
However, it also seems absurd to continue confessing the same sins already forgiven just because I forgot to say this or that detail (I just cannot say only the detail, because it would make no sense outside the context of the sin; therefore, every time I feel I have to repeat everything all over again) … unfortunately, my mind is very analytical and does not “forgive” me for anything.
My other question is related to revealing one’s own faith: I work in a place that is extremely “modern” from the worst point of view, in other words, a place where almost everybody is atheist and religion is considered as superstition. There is not the least open-mindedness to think differently. I have a quite shy and submissive character and, although I suffer from knowing that other people have wrong ideas, I feel stuck and do not know what to say, and that is because the rare times I tried I could not answer the objections (I am not good at expressing myself). I wonder what I could do for my colleagues’ salvation;
Reading the answers on this website, I read you should offer prayers and fasting. However, I have to get back to the fact that praying is difficult for me due to the reasons I previously explained; I feel like I’m in a vicious cycle where God is indeed far from me, although I am factually a believer.
Finally, I would like to ask you one more thing.
You and your collaborators, have you ever thought of publishing a book with (maybe some) of the questions and answers that you publish on the website?
I often find myself reading your answers at my computer during the day, but I would like to read them in paper form, maybe at night before going to bed, in order to be able to better meditate. Actually, I believe that if a book were published of the website of Dominican Friends, it would have several potential readers! I think I would personally give it to somebody.
I just wanted to express this thought of mine in the hope it may be of interest to you.
Thanks again for your service.
First of all, I apologize to you for the delay of my answer but just today I have read the emails dated March 2017.
1. The inability to gather yourself does not necessarily derive from the fact that you are not in a state of grace with God. There may be other reasons too.
In the first place, I would relate it to the stress that is due to several thoughts and our very intense and busy life which continuously leads to other thoughts.
Therefore, if you want to gather yourself during the Mass, the best thing is to arrive in time and get ready on your knees, maybe reciting the holy rosary by yourself.
If people see you on your knees, they will not put their scarves or hats on the hand rest of the bench because they see it is already busy.
If you manage to immerse yourself on your own, it will become easier to kneel during the Eucharistic prayer and during the consecration or after the Holy Communion.
Moreover, since examples are contagious equally in good and evil, it will be likely that some people among the ones who are near you start kneeling too.
2. You told me you came to the church to stay there for some time and pray but you almost had to run away because of the distractions caused by the people chatting.
It is true, this bothers.
However, if you had kneeled on a bench, had leaned your face between your hands in an attitude of recollection or had started to recite the holy rosary with your head down, maybe those people would have stopped talking or would have started whispering.
In any case, the distraction caused by the chatter would have slipped away or would have remained very muffled.
3. As for the confession: you talk about dissatisfaction due to some unspecified details.
Well, it is not necessary in itself to indict the details; on the contrary, if these details are shameful, they should not even be said.
If the sin is grave, it is sufficient to confess it in its essence.
For instance, if a person is not married, it is sufficient that he/she says: I committed various acts of impurity and had sexual intercourses with my partner.
The expression “various acts of impurity” includes all the details that you don’t have to describe due to the sanctity of the sacrament.
If someone is not satisfied with his own accusation, he can add to that “various acts of impurity” that these are “various and also grave”.
The priest will understand. He will not ask you anything else. It will be enough.
4. Still, it is appropriate to always keep the same confessor who will tell the penitent not to dwell in the past, if he/she keeps saying the sins already confessed.
5. Regarding the revelation of your faith, surely, the environment where you live makes it difficult to reveal it but also to defend it anytime it gets attacked.
Moreover, it is easy to demolish with a joke while it is more difficult to respond by discussing point after point.
Sometimes it is worth keeping quiet. In the meantime, you can read up.
In this way their attack against faith can become a reason to cultivate it in yourself and then defend it.
Other times, especially when you see prejudice and arrogance, it is equally worth keeping quiet and praying for those people.
6. On your last point (that is publishing some replies on paper) some website visitors have thought about that too. There is definitely a difference between reading a reply in a fleeting way while one is at work, whereas it is a completely different story taking a book in your hand.
A book leads better to reflection.
Indeed, last August one of our visitors published two booklets with answers on eschatology, that is on the ultimate realities of our life.
Here’s the details: ANGELO BELLON, Dialoghi sull’escatologia, Fadia Editori 2018.
The two booklets comprise a total of 524 pages and collect almost all the answers related to the topic and published till August 2017.
7. It cannot be excluded that we may do more.
However, this was done first and foremost thanks to the visitor’s entrepreneurship and his good commitment in all respects.
I thank you for the fidelity with which you follow our website, and heartily remind you to the Lord and bless you.
Translated by Irene Visciano