It’s been about three months since I started this series, and in that time, I’ve stopped going to Church.
Catholic Mass used to be one of my favorite things to do in a week. I loved going to the local parish, saying prayers, reading readings, and sharing handshakes and hugs with other members of the Church. The parish I went to in Toronto, in particular, stands out as one of the most welcoming parishes I have been to.
Churches, for me, have always held a kind of separated serenity. Going into a Church feels like stepping outside of the world, and stepping into a world of prayer, confession, redemption, and celebration. Stepping outside of the world, and into the eternal and timeless house of God.
Several years ago, in a particularly dark time of my life, when I had nowhere to go that gave me peace, I stepped into a church. During that time, I couldn’t go home, I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t go to class or even sleep without pain. I carried around pain that felt like my guts had been ripped out, everywhere I went. It was an pain that never went away, but was always with me when I walked, when I spoke, when I ate, and when I slept.
To this day, I’m not entirely sure what the cause of it was. Eventually it went away, and I became much happier in the years since.
In that time, Church was the only place I found reprieve. There was one occasion, which I can’t really explain, where I found myself sleeping in a pew. I’m not sure if it was because I hadn’t slept much that week or what, but I went into the Church to pray, and ended up falling asleep. This, to me, meant that churches were a place of reprieve for me, a place to feel safe when the terrors of the world got to me.
I thought that, given my current frustrations with “God,” that going to Mass everyday would be good for me. Being in the Mass, saying prayers, breaking bread, were all things I used to find so much joy in after all. Our office has Mass every morning, so I figured I would go and see if I could reclaim that joy I used to feel.
Four months later, here I am. I’ve stopped going. I don’t know why, but the faith I used to have is slipping, and I feel false going to Mass. Mass, and Churches, don’t bring me the peace they used to, as much as I wish they did.
When I’m in Mass now, I just feel pain. Pain, and the reminder that I’ve been left behind by “God.”