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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bad News

Every Sunday we park Sister Mary Fiacre in front of the Mass for Shut-ins. We're not sure how aware she is, whether she realizes she 'at' Mass or not. She tends to like things that move very fast, like basketball. So unless there is a flurry of activity with some incense, the Mass just doesn't seem to actual draw her attention.

We feel it's our duty to bring her to Mass each Sunday, because contrary to popular belief it is indeed a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday. Better be safe than sorry. For eternity.

I can tell you unequivocally that many people, many who consider themselves very good Catholics, seem to have the idea that Mass is optional. I know this because these people ask me about it all the time.

"Sister, how serious is it to miss Mass on Sunday?"

"Did you go to Saturday Mass?"

"No, Sister."

"Were you in ICU, hooked up to monitors?"

"No, Sister."

"Were you struck on the head and had amnesia?"

"No, Sister."

"Then unless you make it to confession before you fall down the basement stairs or your grandmother hits the gas instead of the brake while you're standing behind the car getting the groceries out of the trunk, you can expect to go straight to Hell."


The question isn't whether or not missing Mass is a serious sin. The question is why do people not know that it is a serious sin.

"I don't think it's a serious sin."

Well, God does. God doesn't really care what you think (although he loves you very much). He wants you at Mass on Sunday.

How do we know this? God tells us things. For one thing, He has those pesky Ten Commandments, which is probably how we ended up with Saturday Mass for those people who can't figure out if Saturday or Sunday is the Sabbath. All they know is, Monday they have to be at their desks.

It's Sunday. I know...it used to be Saturday. But the other handy conduit of God's rules, the Pope, changed it to Sunday. It works out better for everyone, too, because then everyone can do their grocery shopping and laundry on Saturday and rest on the Lord's day like they're supposed to. We even rest on Sunday....between rosaries.

"We were so busy, and everyone was tired, and we looked at the clock and missed the last Mass. We didn't miss Mass on purpose."

Too bad. You'll pay really close attention to the clock in Hell, hoping it will be over soon, but it never will be.

"Why would God punish us for all eternity for missing one Mass?"

Because you've made it clear you don't want to hang out with Him. You would rather attend a sale at TJ Maxx. You get the Max for the minimum in God's laws, too.

By the way, it's not okay for you to attend the Mass for the Shut-ins if you are not one.

And brace yourself...if you are the cause of anyone else not attending Mass on Sunday that is a double sin on you. Think of the mountain of sin you are lolling around with there in bed with that hangover!

Sometimes we take Sister Mary Fiacre to an actual Mass if we don't have anyone to stay with her at home. We park her next to the organist, which keeps her alert. And if anyone asks us why we've taken the trouble to bring her we tell them, "It is a serious sin to miss Mass on Sunday."

Really, it is.


cattiekit said...

WELL. I guess that answers your question, fouquette racing.

I'm *positive* our dear 'Ster has already covered this at least once before.

Nearly positive, anyhoo.

Must be why they call it "Mass".

Trying to skip it will cause it to fall on you like a 500-lb. cartoon weight. But not as funny.

Fouquette Racing said...

Oooohh. So, now that I have missed SO many masses I have to go to confession, right? I haven't been to confession for so long, I don't even think I remember how to do it.

I seriously didn't know missing mass was a mortal sin. Wow.

Anonymous said...

foquette racing - aw, come on, you don't remember how to do it? Even my protestant friends have seen enough movies to know how. I even knew a protestant girl who went to confession just because she thought it was interesting and wanted to have that experience. Couldn't get absolution though, poor thing. But you can!

Go on, you'll be glad you did.

Anonymous said...

btw, nice quilt! I'm just learning.

Staying in Balance said...

Foquette: Say this:

1) Bless me Father for I have sinned.
2) It's been ___ since my last confession.
3) State your sins and number of times.
4) The priest will bless you and ask for your act of contrition. (You can make one up, do the one you were taught as a kid, or google "act of contrition" and use that one.
5) The priest will give you a penance to say/do.
6) You do/say the penance.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fouquette racing,
Maybe you can make an appointment for a private confession with your Priest. Call him up and see if you can arrange a time. Most parishes only allow a half hour once a week for confessions. Look at your bulletin or your parish website to see when you can go. Tell the Priest you need help with the words since its been a while. He will understand. I'm rooting for you. You can do this. But, you need to really do a good examination of conscience first. I will attempt to find you a good list and post it for you.

Anonymous said...

Dear fouquette racing,

This one is okay, but there are better ones for sure. This will have to do for now. Sorry I cant find the one I use on-line. Try this though:

Don't skip telling all. Let it all hang out. If you intentionally skip mentioning a sin, you are in deep.

Anonymous said...

OR, you can go in, say "I haven't done this in a really long time, can you walk me through?" which is good if you get nervous and forget all the advice everyone is giving you. Just don't refrain from going because you don't remember your sins, you don't remember the act of contrition, your examination of conscience wasn't good enough, etc. If I waited 'til all that was perfect I'd never go.

Anonymous said...

We found out about "missing Mass is a mortal sin" about 4 years ago and have never missed since unless there was a seriously sick (throwing up) child, and even if that happens, everyone goes except for that child and the parent who needs to stay him/her.

But an interesting thing happened when we moved into this town. Mind you, there is only one Catholic Church and one Mass. Otherwise, you must travel quite a distance to attend another Mass at another church in another town.

My husband's last day on the job was Friday and he was going to start a new job on Monday at a new town. We had been to the town once just to find a place to live. We went by the Catholic church several times that day, but no one was there. We called and found out that Mass was at 11:00 on Sunday. We also looked at masstimes.org to make sure. We also bought a local newspaper and it also said that Mass is at 11:00.

Well, what happened on Sunday at 11:00? No Mass. We didn't even know where another Mass was. We waited for 30 minutes. Nothing. We didn't have phone service yet, we didn't have a phone book. Nothing. And we didn't know where another Church was.

We found out later that there was a special Archdiocesan Mass that day in the afternoon in Oklahoma City and that is why 11:00 am Mass was cancelled and most Masses far away from OKC that occurred after 11:00 were cancelled. How were we to know?

We don't have many Catholic churches here in Oklahoma. We don't have the option of going across town to another Mass if something happens. Our Mass is so late in the morning that if an emergency happened, there is only one other mass we could make it to at 12:30, but it is about 35 miles away.

Did we commit a mortal sin that day?

Kasia said...

Someone said on the other thread something about going to church because he loves God, not because he's afraid of Hell.

I say good for you. Because that's why you're supposed to go, if I understand correctly. That's why I go. But that doesn't mean it's not a sin to miss church.

I don't murder people because (a) it's wrong, (b) it's illegal, and (c) it could conceivably land me in Hell. I don't enjoy the thought of murdering someone, so I guess you could say I go through each day without murdering someone because I enjoy not murdering people. But it still is a sin to commit murder.

Is that a fair analogy?

Also, at least according to my pastor, a major reason for changing the Sabbath with the Christian tradition is because Jesus was resurrected on Sunday. So we congregate to celebrate Him on the day He was resurrected, because through that we have hope of redemption.

Anonymous said...

Kasia you are right about the murder thing.

You are talking about perfect contrition and imperfect contrition.

Perfect contrition: We do what we do out of love for God

Imperfect contrition: We do what we do out of a fear of God's wrath.

God accepts both. And, yes one should aim for perfect, but we are after all human.

As far as the commandments go, we must follow them. When missing Mass is right up there with murder on the list, we need to take it seriously.

Yes, Jesus died on Friday that was day one, sat day 2 and sunday day 3.

So yes it makes sense to celebrate the new Sabbath on Sunday. But in the end what makes sense is that is when we are to do it per the Church. That should be enough for anyone. Unless we all want to question the date of Christmas too.
Amoung other things.Again, its just easier to follow the rules and then you don't have to agonize over all this. The Church figured all this out. No doubt for a reason, like she can and does so with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the promise from Jesus the gates of Hell will not prevail against her.

Kasia said...

But Anonymous, I'm only just now in RCIA. I had to be convinced that the Church was RIGHT before I could submit to her and accept "because the Church says so" as a reason! :-) (Come Easter, that's another story.)

The perfect v. imperfect contrition explanation makes sense - thanks very much.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Suzanne, you didn't commit a mortal sin by not knowing Mass was canceled.

There is a loop hole about sin. You have to do it on purpose. It doesn't let you off the hook about missing Mass in general, because as a practicing Catholic 'missing Mass is a serious sin' is one of the top ten rules, so to speak. It's like running a red light and saying you didn't know you were supposed to stop. Even if that were true, there is some lazy stubbornness at play for you not to know.

But you really tried to go to Mass. You actually went.

I hope you were all dressed nicely. I can't believe the way people dress at Mass these days.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kasia,

Welcome Home! I will add you to my daily list of people to pray for.

:) I will add anyone else here in RCIA to my prayers as well, and will take you to Mass with me in my heart. I go twice a week, working on more often.

cattiekit said...

Wow, anonymous. Who are you anyway? ??? Let it ALL hang out.

Get your own blog if you want a soapbox.


Anonymous said...

What is RCIA?

sister mary alternative said...

once again - glad i'm an episcopalian. we have smells, we have bells, we don't do this mortal sin stuff. and, you can confess (we only have to do it during advent and lent) to a woman priest if you like. makes it much easier for me to talk to another woman.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that as well as confessing your sins you have to have a firm purpose of amendment i.e. you have to really try not to commit the sin again. If you confess that you are hving sex outside of marriage and you know that you intend to continue doing so then you don't have fpo.

I nominated this blog for the 2007 blog awards but was refused because if was deemed a satirical site. Yes it is a funny site but 100% orthodox as far as I am concerned.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha,

I didn't think it was a mortal sin since we tried so hard to go! And yes, we always dress up for Mass!

Dear Sister Mary Alternative, Just because you don't believe in mortal sin doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

And here are twelve reasons that you can pretend to have female priests but they can never be valid: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Phillip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas.

Take care, Suzanne

CMinor said...

Spot on re anonymous, cattiekit.
BTW, I still think your heart emoticon looks more like a mouse. But it's a kinda cute mouse.

Fouquette Racing said...

Actually, my family and I always comment about how much better we feel after we've gone to mass. It has just been pure laziness on our part..and I didn't know that it was a mortal sin so we just figured we'd start going again when the weather warmed up :-)

Oh, and I ALWAYS dress up for mass! Mostly because I am a happy-housewife and it gives me a chance to wear my "nice" clothes.

I need to figure the Act of Contrition out then I'll be good to go!

Monica: When did you start quilting? Are you taking a class? I've only been quilting a couple years....addictive!

Anonymous said...

f.r. it is addictive! I've emailed you my latest quilt.

Anonymous said...

If I were Sr. Mary Martha and a real nun, I'd probably throw up my hands and quit blogging at this point...

Anonymous said...

Ah, Sister Mary Martha, you are not by any chance a resident of the gem city, are you? The Quincy (IL) Mass for Shut-Ins is a classic! Why spend 1+ hr watching the EWTN Mass when you can get the virtual obligation done in 26 minutes flat??

cattiekit said...

cminor, I like your identity name and I like even better that you think my emoticon looks like a mouse. :>D

St. Gertrude of Nivelles (my favorite saint) is depicted as having mice running up her staff, representing the souls in purgatory.

We should always be mindful of them. :>)

She's also the patron saint of cats! As you might guess from my identity name, I am a crazy old cat lady in the making. ;>)