QUESTION: Dear Priest,
today I attended Mass although I'm a non-Catholic. I experienced the lonesome feeling again. Will I ever feel part of a Catholic community?! It's bloody difficult just going to church. I often feel lonely (often when attending Mass). That Catholic anthropology doesn't seem to make it easier.
I do admit to having a psychiatric diagnosis that makes socializing too difficult sometimes.
Jesus said: "come to me all you who..." but I just get confused. Life can be pretty uncomfortable!
Dear Priest, you represent the Church so please say something wise and then pray for me (as I will pray for you)!
ANSWER: Dear Jan:
I pray that you can come to see and experience the deeper implications of encountering Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as He speaks to us in the readings from Sacred Scripture and comes to be present among us as Bread of Life. The assembling of ourselves is for the purpose of coming together as the Body of Christ at prayer in us, as an acceptable sacrifice of praise to God the Father. Jesus' incarnation (dwelling among us) is extended through our universe in time by the celebration of the holy Mysteries. We come to present ourselves before Jesus and to open ourselves to His presence made manifest among us.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Priest, what you tell me seems so easy. Unfortently it's so difficult for me. I sometimes feel like an outsider. Can this feeling of lonesomeness really be of any good use? I tried to become a Catholic for a long time now but there seem to be too many obstacles. What do I need to do? Or should I just accept this confusion? Maybe my autism condition is making it more difficult?
Give me some great Priestly wisdom.
I hate to disappoint you if my answers are not as wise as you seek... I cannot read souls. I can only recommend that you inquire at the Catholic Parish to take classes to learn more about the Catholic Faith. In the USA we call this process the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). I can understand how one can feel like an outsider when looking into Catholicism. It is truly a culture of people. Perhaps you are finding the autism to be an obstacle, as you mention. Be certain to take the time to pray, to ask God to place in your heart some of the answers you seek by expressing to Him your openness to be enlightened by the doctrines of the Faith and to be formed with an attitude and disposition of openness to the teachings and life of the Church. I wish you the very best in your seeking God and His Holy Church with a sincere heart. May God bless you!
Fr. Timothy Johnson